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Three subtle forms of discrimination in the workplace

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2023 | Discrimination

It is unfortunate how prominent discrimination still is in the workplace even after all of the strides forward that have been made for employee rights in California. Although obvious displays of discrimination are no longer as common, discrimination still takes place in many ways that are just not as visible to the outside observer. These hidden signs of discrimination are just as damaging though, and workers should be aware of how they can happen.

Discrimination during the hiring process

One of the more common and difficult practices to recognize is discrimination when you apply for a job. That is because an employer is not required to provide a reason for why they did not choose to hire someone. In many cases, a hiring manager or company can sift through their applicants and systematically eliminate candidates based on protected characteristics such as race, religion, sex, gender, national origin or age without tipping off the applicant.

In many cases, the way to detect such discrimination happens during interviews, if the interviewer asks questions that relate more to the applicant’s protected status than their work or life experience. Other current employees may also hear about such discriminatory practices and can report it to the state government.

Discrimination during performance reviews

Another common area where discrimination can occur in a less obvious manner is during performance reviews. Some employees will find that their performance reviews are declining, even though they have been doing better or were told that they were on track. This can, in some cases, be a sign that the reviewer is discriminating against the employee on the basis of their protected class.

This type of discrimination can lead to a loss of opportunities at work, not being considered for special projects or promotions, or being passed over for holidays and pay increases.

Discrimination during termination

The final way that employers can subtly discriminate against their employees is during the termination process. This can be more easily discovered than the previous examples because the results can be seen publicly, unlike the results in the other two scenarios. If your employer has recently let you go and many other people who were similarly situated to you were not terminated, that may be a sign of discriminatory motive.