Workplace discrimination: Patterns of behavior
Discrimination is, unfortunately, sometimes easy for employers to hide. They know that they are not allowed to discriminate based on certain protected classes, so they come up with alternative reasons for their actions. They may try to disguise the discrimination, rather than adhere to the law.
An example of this approach could involve an employer refusing to hire anyone who is over 40 years old. This is clearly age discrimination, but the employer may just say that those candidates didn’t fit the company culture or didn’t have the required skills for the job. Whether or not this is true, they are simply trying to make it appear that age did not play a role in their decision-making.
Why a pattern of behavior matters
When employers attempt to disguise discriminatory behavior, one factor that can be very telling is whether there is a pattern of certain behavior at that business. If the same thing happens repeatedly, it is less likely that the excuses are true and more likely that discrimination is taking place.
For instance, say that a company that only gives promotions and executive roles to men. This is gender discrimination. If there is just one specific case where a man was given a promotion over a qualified female candidate, discrimination may be hard to prove. But when this kind of selection happens repeatedly for years on end, it becomes obvious that the company is not acting in good faith. It is intentionally promoting men and keeping women below the glass ceiling.
Another example could be a company that only employs workers with a certain racial or ethnic background. Every person who is hired does not have to come from a diverse background, but it is problematic when no workers from a minority background are given a chance at gainful employment.
What steps can you take?
If you feel that you’ve been discriminated against at work, this can be frustrating, as it can hinder your career and it is a violation of your rights under U.S. law. Take the time to look at all of the legal options at your disposal by seeking legal guidance so that you can make informed decisions about your situation.