Unfortunately for many, discrimination in the workplace is an unpleasant fact of daily life. If you are in this situation, you may think it is rather easy to spot the signs of discrimination. However, in reality, people who perpetuate discrimination or other abusive forms of behavior rarely make their real intentions known. As a result, it can be difficult to know when you are being discriminated against based upon your gender, race, religion, age, disability or because you are a member of another protected class.
Discrimination based upon membership in a protected class is unlawful at all stages of employment-from the initial interview to promotions and terminations. Although discrimination may be hard to detect from a single action, there are some signs that illegal discriminatory practices are afoot in the workplace.
1. Questionable interview questions: Signs of discrimination in the workplace may appear as early as the interview. If the person interviewing you asks questions that reference stereotypes of your religion, gender, race, age or other protected classes, it may be a sign that discriminatory behavior will continue once you have been hired at the company.
2. Unfair assignment of job duties: In many cases, victims of workplace discrimination are given lesser or less lucrative tasks. Alternatively, victims may be assigned tasks that are last minute or impossible to complete. Managers who discriminate often use this tactic to reinforce the stereotype that members of a certain class are incompetent in the workplace. After the victims “fail” at performing the task, this may be used as a pretext for termination. Additionally, a lack of diversity in the highly desirable or high-paying jobs at the company may be a sign that unlawful discrimination plays a role when it comes to promotional opportunities.
3. Lack of reasonable accommodations: Under federal, New York and New York City laws, employers must make reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities and religious beliefs. However, sometimes employers refuse to provide a reasonable accommodation to allow a disabled worker to perform his or her job or institute a dress code that interferes with an employee’s ability to practice his or her religious beliefs. Unfortunately, these illegal practices are more common than you may think.
4. Demeaning treatment: Part of what makes employment discrimination difficult is how victims are treated or spoken to by supervisors and coworkers. If you are often spoken to in a condescending tone for no reason, or if jokes or offensive comments are made when you are around, you are likely being discriminated against. This is especially the case if the comments made are on the topic of sexual orientation, gender, religion, age or race.
You don’t have to face it alone
As there may be several possible solutions, if you believe you are facing unlawful discrimination in the workplace, it is important to obtain legal advice before you do anything further to address it. The experienced employment law attorneys at Serrins Fisher LLP can listen to your situation, advise you of the possible legal remedies available and recommend a course of action that would be best, given the surrounding circumstances.