Federal employment laws protect workers from discrimination based on many different factors. Employers should not consider protected characteristics like your sex or gender, sexual orientation, medical conditions, race, religion, or national origin when making decisions about employment.
Some of the most overt examples of employment discrimination involve companies that refuse to hire certain people or that wrongfully terminated people because of protected characteristics. Fewer people think about promotion discrimination as an issue that affects workplace fairness, but it is a common way that workplace discrimination manifests.
Workers may find themselves unfairly denied advancement opportunities within a company because of a systemic bias against one of their personal characteristics.
What characteristics could trigger promotion discrimination?
There are numerous personal factors that should not influence your employment situation. If you apply for a promotion and meet all of the qualifications, you should receive the same consideration as other candidates based on your education, performance and experience.
Unfortunately, some companies or individual employees in positions of authority at a business will discriminate against certain kinds of people when making decisions about a big promotion. They might give more consideration to applicants of one race over others or give preferential treatment to younger workers while ignoring qualified workers who are over the age of 40 every time an advancement opportunity arises.
If you believe that personal factors, rather than your credentials, caused your company to pass you over yet again for a promotion, you might be the victim of discrimination.
How do you prove promotion discrimination?
Trying to establish exactly why a company makes certain hiring or advancement decisions can be tricky, but it becomes easier if there is a provable pattern of behavior.
If you can show that there are numerous qualified people with the same characteristics who face the same treatment or that the people who receive promotions all tend to share certain characteristics outside of their job qualifications, it might help demonstrate that discrimination has held you and other workers at the company back from equal advancement opportunities.
Recognizing promotion discrimination as a serious workplace concern can help you fight back if your career stagnation is because of your age, race, your sex or gender identity, or another protected characteristic.