You might think that you would immediately know if you experienced workplace discrimination, but that might not be the case. Even if your employer or coworker’s actions make you uncomfortable, you might not realize that it’s discrimination, but it very well could be. That’s why you need to be able to recognize the first signs of workplace discrimination—that way, you can identify what you’re experiencing and when it crosses the line over to illegal treatment.
You should know the signs of workplace discrimination as well as when discrimination law applies in the hiring process and while working. Being fully informed is the best way to recognize when you’re getting mistreated and when you can take legal action with the help of an employment lawyer.
Signs of Workplace Discrimination
As mentioned above, it’s vital to be able to distinguish the first signs of discrimination in the workplace so that you can recognize it right away. Some of these signs might not even seem like they could be as serious as discrimination, but even if they seem like innocent jokes or other treatment, they could have discriminatory intentions, or their actions could escalate to be even worse.
That’s why it’s important to be able to identify the mistreatment immediately—you can bring it to your employer’s attention so they can take action, or so that the EEOC can take remedial actions right away as well. Here are some of the signs that your workplace has discrimination happening:
- Weird Interview Questions. While you’re usually nervous in a job interview, if you are unusually nervous because you’re being asked odd or inappropriate questions, then you could be experiencing workplace discrimination.
- Lack of Diversity. One of the first signs you can tell if a work environment is discriminatory in your first days on the job are if there isn’t diversity in the company. If you all are a part of the same demographic, around the same age, or look similar, then the hiring process of your employer could be discriminatory.
- Inappropriate Jokes. If any member of the staff or an employer makes inappropriate jokes in the office, that can create a toxic environment for fellow workers. Inappropriate jokes can be discrimination when they’re about race, religion, gender, or anything else protected by the EEOC. When those jokes make you uncomfortable, it can be even harder to communicate that because you don’t know how they’ll react or if they’ll use the excuse that it’s just a joke.
- High Turnover Rate. If you are hired at a job and quickly notice that there is a high turnover rate, that could mean that discrimination is taking place. Workers won’t stay at a job where they feel disrespected or discriminated against, or employers could be getting rid of workers who speak up about the bad work environment, which could lead to a high turnover rate.
- Overlooked or Denied Promotions. There are many reasons that you might not get a promotion over another worker that are valid and legal. However, if those reasons are based in race, religion, gender, sex, age, or any other factor that you can’t control, then your employer or supervisor could be discriminatory in their promotion choices.
- Fixed Roles. Another way to identify discrimination in the workplace is to look at what roles people play in the office. For example, if you notice the same group of people keep the leadership roles, or the same group is always getting promotions, and all the other workers stay at the same level, then this could mean that there are fixed roles at your job.
- Decrease of Workload. Jobs can have ebbs and flows of how much work you have to do. There are plenty of reasons for a decreased workload, but if that reasoning is based in discrimination, then that’s when it’s a sign that you’re being mistreated. Your age, gender, race, or any other identifying characteristic cannot be a reason that you get less work assigned.
- Favoritism. Although this is similar to a few other signs, if you notice that one worker is getting favored over all the others for projects, promotions, or just better treatment in general, then that could be a sign of workplace discrimination.
- Alienating or Demeaning Leadership. Workers in leadership positions should be fair and usually positive to their workers. They should always be trying to include everyone and ensure that the workload is evenly distributed. If they show favoritism, alienate some workers, or are demeaning, then they could be discriminating against employees.
Now that you know some of the first signs that discrimination is happening at your place of work, you will be able to better identify when you or a coworker is being mistreated. Not only is discrimination unfair, but it’s also illegal. That’s why it’s important to take action and speak up when something is wrong.
You deserve to be treated properly at your job. When you experience discrimination of any kind, you could use help filing a claim so that you can feel safe doing so. At Madia Law LLC, our Minnesota employment lawyers are here to guide you through the process of filing against your employer so that you can be confident that your case is as strong as possible.
You might have a fear of retaliation that prevents you from taking action, but retaliation of any kind is illegal. With us on your side, you can rest assured that we will defend your rights and keep your employer from mistreating you. Reach out to our office today so we can schedule a meeting.