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How to spot workplace discrimination

There are plenty of people who don't like their jobs. We've all complained to friends, family and co-workers about work. In most instances, you likely vent a little bit and move on because you just needed to get something off your chest.

But what if there is more to your situation than a bad day at work? When does a bad experience at the office cross over into discrimination?

Protected class

Discrimination happens when a member of a protected class is treated differently than their peers. Examples of protected classes include gender, age, sexual orientation, race and disability.

Employers are supposed to only focus on qualifications when making hiring and job decisions. You may have a discrimination case if you are being passed over for a promotion, didn't get a job or aren't being compensated fairly for reasons other than your job qualifications.

Common misconceptions

One of the common misconceptions about discrimination is that anything that doesn't go your way in the workplace could be a form of discrimination. For example, you may feel your boss is too hard on you and spends more time critiquing your work than other employees. This, in itself, is not enough to constitute discrimination.

Simply being passed over for a promotion isn't enough, either. If your employer selected an equally qualified employee for the role, you likely won't have grounds for a case.

Discrimination can be difficult to prove, but it is important for employees to defend their rights in the workplace. If you feel like you have been mistreated for reasons that may be discriminatory, you should explore your legal options.

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