What are Signs of Discrimination at Work?

2 white employees whispering secretively in front of another, black associate

Discrimination in the workplace happens every day, whether based on age, race, gender, religion, disability, or any other protected class. However, employment discrimination can be difficult to prove in a workplace discrimination lawsuit. While some signs of unfair treatment in the workplace are more blatant, other behaviors may be more subtle.

Here are some common warning signs of discrimination at work:

  • Not being hired for a job you were most qualified for
  • Being harassed at work because of your race, age, gender, etc
  • Failing to be promoted despite your qualifications
  • Being given a heavier-than-normal workload
  • Receiving disciple for actions that are overlooked for others
  • Facing relation or termination for performing a protected act, like reporting harassment

 Let's go into more detail about how to recognize these common types of workplace discrimination.

Discriminatory Hiring Practices

One of the ways you may experience unfair treatment at work is through discriminatory hiring practices. Employers who engage in unfair hiring practices aren’t going to do so in the light and will often be subtle. If you have been discriminated against you must prove the following:

  1. You are part of a protected class
  2. You met all the qualifications for the position for which you applied
  3. You did not receive a job offer
  4. The employer hired a less qualified applicant

Workplace Harassment

You have the right to work in a safe environment without fear of harassment. Unfortunately, harassing behavior in the workplace happens more than you may think. Types of workplace harassment may include:

  • Physical harassment
  • Bullying — including cyberbullying
  • Discriminatory harassment
  • Psychological harassment — this may include belittling or condescending remarks
  • Sexual harassment
  • 3rd party harassment — harassment from suppliers, vendors or customers.

Unfair Promotion Practices

The law requires employers to foster an equal-opportunity workplace. However, some employees may be unfairly passed over for a promotion or other work opportunities.

Some signs of discrimination in promotion practices include:

  • Patterns of people in specific groups being promoted over equally or more qualified workers
  • Discriminatory comments made by supervisors or other employees
  • Other forms of communication indicating discriminatory intent in workplace opportunities
  • Inconsistent reasons from the employer as to why you were not promoted

Unequal Treatment

Unequal discipline in the workplace is another common form of workplace discrimination. Some signs of unfair and unequal workplace treatment include:

  • Being given an overwhelming workload compared to coworkers with the same job and responsibilities
  • Being disciplined for the same actions that are overlooked by other coworkers
  • Demotion or firing while bypassing common disciplinary procedures


California is an “at-will” state, and your employer can terminate your employment at any time, without an explanation, but that doesn’t mean they can let you go for just any reason. An employer can not terminate or retaliate against an employee for the following actions:

Some signs of retaliation at work include:

  • Exclusion from workplace activities or opportunities
  • Reassignment to a different department
  • A reduction in pay or hours
  • Harassment or bullying from your supervisor
  • Sudden negative performance reviews
  • Termination

Need a California Workplace Discrimination Lawyer? Call (888) 796-4010.

For help fighting discriminatory actions in the workplace, contact Polaris Law Group today for a free consultation. Proving workplace harassment can be a stressful and daunting task — especially if you are unfamiliar with employment law. Facing unfair treatment, retaliation or harassment can only compound stress levels at work. An experienced employment discrimination lawyer in Monterey County can guide you through the process of proving discrimination in your case.

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