There are many types of behavior that we understand are discriminatory in the workplace, such as racist jokes or sexually harassing conduct. However, there are many types of discriminatory acts that can happen that are more subtle and could easily be ignored if you do know to look out for them. These can be acts or decisions that appear to be nondiscriminatory, however, they are done with discriminatory intent. If you suspect that such things have happened to you, then you should record the information.
Hiring and firing may be discriminatory
There is no requirement that an employer must give a reason for hiring or firing decisions. Because California is an at-will employment state, for most jobs you can be hired or terminated at the discretion of your employer. However, if the decision was based on the applicant’s legally protected status such as race, religion, gender, or national origin, that is an illegal act.
It can be hard to determine if this was the basis for the decision, especially during the hiring process, however, if the evidence supports it then you likely have a case against them.
Suddenly poor performance reviews can be discriminatory
For some, a sudden drop in your performance reviews at work can be a sign of discrimination. If your manager or employer has started finding arbitrary reasons to demerit you, or they are increasingly strict with your performance over comparable workers, then that could be due to discrimination. This could be for a number of discriminatory reasons, such as retaliation against your objection to their discriminatory behavior toward another employee or a complaint about harassment directed at you.
When the quality of your work has remained consistent or improved but your performance review has gone down, then you have likely been discriminated against.
Passed over for benefits or promotions
If you have been consistently passed over for common workplace benefits such as holidays off, or you have not been considered for promotions that you were qualified for, then that can be a sign of discrimination. These considerations are not normally shared with employees, so it can be hard to know whether these actions are based on discriminatory intent. However, if you notice a pattern that these are only done against specific types of employees, it may be due to discrimination.
There are other types of behaviors that can be indicators of discrimination at your workplace, however in most cases these will be difficult to prove without overt examples of discriminatory actions at work. The best way to prove discrimination is through the help of an employment law attorney, who can investigate your case and find the evidence they need in order to determine whether discrimination has occurred and whether you should report it.