While many discriminatory actions are outright, there are some less obvious red flags of a toxic work environment. Once you understand what to look out for, you can be better prepared to handle the situation. So, take some time to review the subtle telltale signs of workplace discrimination:
1. Unequal Pay & Promotion
While many employers discourage employees from discussing pay rates, this could be a tactic to avoid addressing unequal pay. Yet, employees’ rights to discuss their salary is protected by federal law, so your employer cannot punish or legally discourage you from discussing it.
Plus, conversation about your salary with fellow employees alerts you to unjust pay practices. For example, if you notice that someone is being paid more than you for the same role, that could alert you to pay discrimination.
Additionally, the fight for income equality has been ongoing for decades with minimal improvements. Nevertheless, some companies and employers still withhold promotions or don’t consider someone for a job due to their gender, race, or any number of identifying factors. This can translate into being denied promotions, stagnated salary, reduced or limited hours, and more.
2. Lack of Diversity at Higher Levels
If there is greater diversity at lower levels but hardly any at the top, this could indicate discriminatory hiring or promotional practices. For example, if there are no people of color in higher leadership roles, it might be harder for entry-level employees of color to see a pathway of growth in that company or even feel understood if discrimination occurs at work. This scenario can easily be applied to any other form of discrimination commonly found in jobs due to leadership roles going to people with only shared life experiences.
While it’s encouraging to see so many women, LGBTQIA+, people of color, and disabled folks stepping into more power positions nationwide, there are still implicit biases that lead to snide comments, derogatory jokes, or retaliation for bringing up issues.
3. Demeaning Language and Jokes
If you find yourself being the brunt of jokes at your office, based on one of your identifying circumstances, you may be experiencing discrimination. While displays of harassment can be overt, more often than not, they are nuanced. Some examples of subtle discriminating languages include:
- Belittling comments
- Snide remarks
- Suspicious questions
- Creating a hostile work environment
Even if things are said in the most innocent way possible, they can still lead to a toxic environment. While you may choose to brush off some of the comments, it’s imperative to report them early on to avoid the situation getting out of hand. A “harmless” joke can turn into creating a negative perception of you to your peers, customers, and even of yourself.
Harassment and Mental Health
Feeling unsafe at work is unacceptable; this is why it’s essential to notice the sometimes subtle signs. Over time, what may be a minor slight can compound and lead to a myriad of mental health issues, including the main three listed below:
If repetitive discriminatory acts leave you suffering from mental anguish, you may be able to seek damages against your employer.
Did you find yourself constantly trying to prove your qualifications and still being overlooked for projects? Maybe your boss continually promotes and applauds lower-level or not as motivated employees. This behavior is known as favoritism, and it can seriously impact your working environment and lead to frustration. If you’re noticing these patterns from your employer, it can feel frustrating and defeating.
Also, it’s important to note that discrimination can start as early as the interview process with a series of suspicious questions or condescending comments, such as a male employer asking a female applicant about her likeability.
5. Unjust Disciplinary Action
Along with favoritism, unjust punishment or dismissal is a form of discrimination found in the workplace. While some employees may be receiving praise, you could continue to receive harsh verbal or written feedback. Additionally, this feedback becomes persistent criticism and overreacting to minor situations.
While your employer could be acting out of unconscious bias, they could also be starting to build a series of written incidents to justify termination. Unjust dismissal leads to lost wages and fear of future job placement. To safeguard your future hiring ability and clear yourself from unjustified dismissal, you need to speak with a trusted team about litigation.
Next Steps to Take
Did you know that your own employer might have their own attorney on retainer? While there are many benefits to business lawyers when organizations need protection, they don’t work for individuals raising issues against a company. This is once again why you need a legal advocate that specializes in these issues.
No one should have to deal with harassment or targeted discrimination, especially at work. If you’ve experienced workplace discrimination, you must understand the next steps you can take, including:
- Alert your employer
- Keep all written documentation
- Diversify your income if possible
- Reach out to a workplace discrimination attorney
While it may seem daunting to address these concerns with your employer, rest assured that they don’t have any right to wrongfully fire you. In the unlikely event that this does happen, it could add to your workplace discrimination suit. If you’re concerned about retaliation for addressing these concerns, it’s an even better idea to reach out to an experienced legal firm to have your back.
Work With an Experienced Workplace Discrimination Lawyer
You deserve to work in a safe environment, free from discriminatory languages and actions. So, if you believe you’re experiencing workplace discrimination, it’s time to seek out the team at CJB Law.
Even though most discrimination cases are civil, they can turn into criminal trials with menacing threats, harassment, or other criminal actions. While there are several state and federal laws against this behavior, discrimination can still occur, leaving many disheartened and feeling hopeless. It’s important to remember that you can seek out justice since these legal protections are in place.
By working with an experienced workplace discrimination lawyer from CJB Law, you’ll get a strong advocate to help you seek just compensation and guidance during this emotionally charged time.
Stand Up to Workplace Discrimination With CJB Law!
We all deserve to work in a safe and respectful environment, free from harassment and discrimination. So, when these negative instances occur, it’s time to take a stand by working with a qualified employee discrimination lawyer.
By knowing the warning signs, you can reach to secure any damages from retaliation or get to figure out your options. Having a great discrimination attorney by your side will help ease the experience and guide you through the litigation process.
Contact CJB Law today to help develop a strong workplace discrimination case to seek justice and safeguard your future.