How Cal I Tell If I am Being Discriminated Against?

Learning how to identify workplace discrimination is an important first step in enforcing your workplace rights.  Employers rarely admit to any wrongdoing when confronted.  Discrimination occurs in different forms and usually consists of multiple escalating discriminatory actions. Discriminatory actions generally fall into the following categories:

Disparate Treatment: A victim of disparate treatment is usually intentionally singled out by the employer and treated unfairly because of a protected characteristic.   For example, a victim of “disparate treatment,” might be someone who:

  • Feels unsafe or humiliated because of repeated remarks made by a supervisor or co-workers about his or her gender or religious dress.[su_spacer]
  • Requests a promotion but the employer denies the request and chooses a different person of a different race or gender who is less qualified.[su_spacer]
  •  Is denied a disability accommodation or reinstatement after taking medical leave.

Disparate Impact:  This type of discrimination occurs when an employer has a particular policy or practice – that is not an essential function of the job – that has a discriminatory effect on an individual or a group of people.

  • For example, perhaps you work at a workplace where an employer imposes lifting requirements even though the job does not actually require lifting.  Such requirements tend to exclude women and persons with certain disabilities.


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