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Often overlooked signs of discrimination in the workplace

Discrimination in the workplace is a serious issue. Sometimes, it does not show up in obvious ways. In California, people might face discrimination based on their race, gender, age, religion, disability or sexual orientation. Laws exist to prevent workplace discrimination, but it still happens, sometimes in subtle ways that are hard to notice.

Understanding discrimination can help in creating fair and equal work environments. Knowing these often overlooked signs can help you recognize unfair treatment at work.

Exclusion from meetings or projects

One subtle sign of discrimination is getting left out of important meetings or projects. It might be discrimination if you find that you are often not included in opportunities provided to others with similar qualifications.

Differential treatment

Look at how your employer treats you compared to your colleagues. Is the treatment different, without a good reason? This could include getting passed over for promotions, receiving unfair negative evaluations or facing harsher discipline for similar issues.

Jokes and comments

Discrimination can also show up in jokes or comments that put people down or are otherwise offensive. Even if the comments are intended as a joke, they can make the workplace feel hostile and might be a sign of discrimination.

Lack of diversity

A workplace that lacks diversity, especially in leadership roles, can sometimes point to discriminatory hiring or promotion practices. While not a guaranteed sign of discrimination, it is a red flag, especially if qualified people from diverse backgrounds are consistently not getting these opportunities. Employers of as few as five employees must adhere to the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination.

Everyone deserves to work in a place that is fair, respectful and free from discrimination. Staying alert to these less obvious signs can help you ensure your workplace is inclusive and fair.


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