Discrimination at Work: Signs You Need a Workplace Discrimination Attorney

Are you facing discrimination at work because of your race, sexual orientation, age, or gender identity? Learn more about discrimination at work, including signs to look for, the differences between employment discrimination lawyers, and signs you need to hire a workplace discrimination attorney.

 


 

Signs of Discrimination at Work

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Lack of Diversity in the Workplace

The diversity of your workplace looks a lot different depending on the lens you’re looking through, namely, your own cultural heritage, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Consider your workplace. What does it look like from your perspective? Do you notice a lot of diversity among the staff? Does your workplace have diversity policies in place? Do they aim to hire for diversity?

These aren’t trick questions. It’s easy to spot a lack of diversity among your coworkers and management staff. If everyone you work with looks the same as you and shares the same beliefs, it means your team is not diverse. If you notice your coworkers are diverse, but management consists exclusively of white men, it’s also a sign that your workplace is not as diverse as it could be.

This lack of diversity could be a sign of discrimination at work. It’s important to ask yourself why this could be taking place. Who is doing the hiring? Does your workplace feel like a place where all people are welcome?

 

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Strange or Uncomfortable Interview Questions

What questions did you face when you interviewed for your position? If you are asked questions about your sexual orientation, age, parental status, or racial background, it’s a clear sign of discrimination. These questions are not relevant to whether or not you will excel in your position, and they have no place in an interview or hiring process.

 

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References to Race, Age, Gender, or Sexual Orientation

Over the course of your workday, do you notice management or your coworkers making reference to your or a team member’s age, race, gender identity, or sexual orientation? What’s the tone of the conversation? Are they noting it? Or are they making fun? Is their tone aggressive or dismissive?

Unless it’s a part of an educational and inclusive meeting on the subject, these kinds of comments have no place at work. Whatever the tone of the conversation, comment, or seemingly innocent question, it’s important to recognize that they go against an inclusive workplace and are a sign of discrimination.

 

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Unequal Pay or Unfair Promotions

Are people receiving unfair advantages in pay, promotions, or opportunities? This is unfortunately prevalent in many industries and workplaces across the United States and the world at large. Are men always promoted ahead of women? Do you notice that the color of someone’s skin seems to be a determining factor in how successful they are at rising through the ranks? Does everyone above you in the company seem to share a race, gender, or sexual orientation?

This can be difficult to notice at first as pay is not usually discussed among coworkers. However, it’s clear when someone is promoted ahead of someone who is more qualified. It’s important to ask yourself why that person was promoted. If you and your fellow coworkers cannot point to specific achievements or reasons for the promotion, and you can point to the achievements of a senior coworker who was not promoted, it could be a sign of discrimination in the workplace.

 

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Demeaning Communication

Do coworkers or management talk down to you? Do they use slurs or inappropriate language? Do you feel regularly disrespected and demeaned whenever someone addresses you?

This kind of demeaning communication does not belong in a workplace—and it’s not something you have to tolerate to “get by.” It is imperative that every team member feel safe and respected at work regardless of who they are or how they identify.

Bullies have always existed, and they likely always will. That doesn’t mean you have to keep your head down just because you’re different.

 


 

Attorney vs. Lawyer — What’s the Difference?

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In the United States, the words attorney and lawyer are often used interchangeably, but there are slight differences between the terms.

A lawyer is someone who has been to law school and taken the bar exam. They can give legal advice, but they may not actually practice law. An attorney or attorney-at-law, on the other hand, is a legally qualified lawyer who practices law in a courtroom by prosecuting or defending a client. So, an attorney is a lawyer, but a lawyer may not be an attorney.

But don’t be too confused and worry that you’re going to hire a lawyer when you need an attorney. If a lawyer is going to defend you and plead your case, they must be an attorney. If you’re seeking an employment discrimination lawyer, they will also be known as an employment discrimination attorney.

 

Types of Discrimination Lawyers

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Workplace Discrimination Lawyers

A workplace harassment attorney represents employees who feel their rights have been violated through discriminatory practices or harassment at work. They work with clients to assess the situation and decide what action is necessary to resolve it according to the client’s unique needs and objectives.

If your workplace does not have a union, employees are often powerless to fight a discriminatory employer on their own. If you feel your rights have been infringed upon, it’s not something you should try to handle on your own. The company that employs you, especially if it’s a large company, likely has its own lawyer (or lawyers) to handle disputes like yours whose job it is to discredit you.

 

When you should seek a workplace discrimination attorney:

  • You believe your termination was illegal.
  • You have evidence that your termination was illegal.
  • You are uncertain of your rights after you are terminated.
  • You are considering quitting your job because of your employer’s unlawful conduct.
  • You believe you have been denied a promotion or raise due to discriminatory circumstances.
  • You need help negotiating severance pay.
  • You know of many coworkers who feel the same way as you and want to bring the same claim to your employer.
  • You want to file a lawsuit in state or federal court against your employer.
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Racial Discrimination Lawyers

A racial discrimination attorney represents employees who feel they have been discriminated against at work based on their ethnicity or skin color. They work with clients to assess the situation and determine the appropriate course of action.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is an agency created specifically to investigate workers’ complaints of job discrimination, but employees still face an uphill battle when it comes to standing up to a company with more resources and expertise to bring to bear in a legal setting.

It is illegal to discriminate against an employee because of their race. Even so, the problem persists, and even though race claims are the most commonly filed, they have the lowest rate of success. It’s imperative that you seek help from a professional if you believe you are being discriminated against.

 

When you should seek a racial discrimination attorney:

  • You believe you have been terminated because of your race.
  • You believe you have been demoted because of your race.
  • You have evidence that you have not been promoted or received a raise because of your race.
  • You are subject to racist comments at work.
  • You are paid less for equal work.
  • You are refused employment on the basis of your race.
  • You know of many coworkers who feel the same way as you and want to bring the same claim of racism against your employer.
  • You want to file a lawsuit in state or federal court against your employer.
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Gender Discrimination Lawyers

A gender discrimination attorney represents employees who believe they have been discriminated against at work on the basis of their sex or gender. They work with clients to assess the situation and figure out the best and most appropriate course of action.

It’s no secret that women are discriminated against in the workplace. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, in 2020, women earned 84% of what men earned. Women and those who identify as women face consistent and constant harassment, but it can be difficult to get these situations rectified without expert legal counsel. Your employer very likely has an attorney who is ready to discredit you at every opportunity, which is why it’s so important to seek a lawyer of your own.

 

When you should seek a gender discrimination lawyer:

  • You believe you have been terminated because of your gender.
  • You believe you have been demoted because of your gender.
  • You have evidence that you have not been promoted or received a raise because of your gender.
  • You are subject to sexist comments at work.
  • You are paid less for equal work.
  • You are refused employment on the basis of your gender.
  • You know of many coworkers who feel the same way as you and want to bring the same claim of sexism or harassment against your employer.
  • You want to file a lawsuit in state or federal court against your employer.
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Age Discrimination Lawyers

An age discrimination attorney works with employees who believe they have been discriminated against based on their age. Legal protections against this kind of discrimination vary, so it’s important to seek guidance from a lawyer with experience in age discrimination. They will work with you to determine what course of action best suits your individual situation.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) offers age discrimination practices, but it does not protect everyone. The ADEA covers job applicants and employees who are 40 years old or over, and it only applies to private employers who employ 20 or more people, federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as employment agencies and labor organizations.

The ADEA states that employers cannot refuse to hire someone because of their age or fire someone because of their age, and it also prohibits age-based harassment at work. If you feel like you are being treated differently, unfairly, or are being harassed at work because of your age, it’s important to speak to an age discrimination lawyer who understands your rights.

 

When you should seek an age discrimination lawyer:

  • You believe you have been denied employment because of your age.
  • You believe you have been fired because of your age.
  • You believe you have been denied a promotion or raise because of your age.
  • You are subject to ageist comments at work.
  • You are paid less for equal work because of your age (not experience.)
  • You know of many coworkers who feel the same way as you and want to bring the same claim of ageism against your employer.
  • You want to file a lawsuit in state or federal court against your employer.

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If you feel like you are being treated unfairly and discriminated against at work because of your race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age and you want to seek help from a workplace discrimination attorney, proving the discrimination will be key to resolving your claim. Keep a record of any comments that are of a discriminatory nature and document discriminatory events when they happen as best you can.

 


 

More from Blue Summit Supplies

💡 Ageism at Work: Managing Generational Differences in the Workplace

💡 How to Handle Intimidation at Work

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jordan works remotely, from home or abroad, on projects that increase brand awareness, online engagement, and website traffic. She specializes in clear and concise writing that helps businesses conquer their online messaging. Through human-centered content, she aims to delight both human readers and Google bots. Spark an immediate and detailed conversation by mentioning Mad Men or Game of Thrones.

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