Would You Recognize Workplace Discrimination? -

When you accept a job, there’s a lot on your mind, and understandably so. You’re thinking about the responsibilities you’ll have to perform, what your daily schedule might look like, and how you’re going to navigate the surroundings and workplace dynamics.

You’re expecting the best. You want to put your best foot forward, to move up and advance within the company. The last thing on your mind is the possibility of facing discrimination in your workplace, let alone how you would handle it.

Workplace discrimination on the basis of factors such as gender, race, religion, age, and disability is illegal, thanks to a number of federal laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. But this can be a complicated legal issue because discriminatory behavior isn’t always covert and easily identifiable. Whether you’re a brand new employee or have been in the workforce for many years, if something or someone at work is making your daily life difficult for no apparent reason, how do you know if it rises to the level of discrimination?

You’ll need an attorney who’s experienced in these matters to make a discrimination case, and Silver & Silver’s Philadelphia, PA, area employment attorneys are here for just that purpose. Before it gets to that point, here are some red flags that could indicate workplace discrimination.

  • Roles and responsibilities are unfairly assigned: If you notice a trend in your workplace over time that, all other factors being equal, greater responsibilities or more prestigious assignments are being assigned to people of a certain gender or race, etc., and not to others, this could be discrimination.
  • Promotions and raises seem unequally allocated: If you are following the proper procedures and reaching the goals laid out by your employer as criteria for a promotion or raise, and you notice coworkers of the opposite sex receiving those promotions and raises while you’re left behind, it’s cause for pause.  
  • Offensive comments, jokes, or behavior persists: A workplace culture where it’s common to endure comments or actions of a racist, sexist, ageist, or culturally insensitive nature can marginalize, intimidate, and even threaten some groups of employees, which is a form of discrimination. Outright harassment, such as unwanted sexual advances, clearly fits within this category.
  • There are different standards for praise and/or reprimands: An example of this might be a female employee constantly being berated for missing deadlines when male employees are allowed to slide.

As you can see, most of these cases are anything but cut-and-dried. Lack of clear job descriptions and company policies in some workplaces can create large gray areas when it comes to spotting and proving discrimination. That’s why it’s important to take the proper first steps within your workplace if you think you’ve been a victim of discrimination.

Watch this slideshow video for a brief primer on what to do:


If you’re experiencing an uncomfortable situation in your workplace and would like to discuss it with our lawyers, or if you think you might be a victim of wrongful termination in Delaware County or anywhere in the Philadelphia area, don’t hesitate to call Silver & Silver for a free consultation.