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How do companies try to hide discrimination?

On Behalf of | Sep 10, 2023 | Employment Discrimination

It is illegal for companies to discriminate against employees due to protected characteristics. The owner of a company has to give everyone an equal opportunity to seek employment. Overt discrimination used to happen in previous generations, but it is far less common today. It is highly unlikely that a company would ever put out a job posting saying they wouldn’t hire people of a specific race, for example.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that the discriminatory attitudes themselves are gone. It just means that overt discrimination occurs less frequently. Instead, company leadership may try to hide instances of unlawful discrimination. Understanding how companies try to cover up their unlawful approaches is important for workers who deserve the protections that state and federal law afford them.

Treated less favorably

Employers are not just prohibited from firing employees or refusing to hire them. They are actually prohibited from treating them less favorably based on their inclusion in a protective class.

Consider the following example: All employees sometimes commit minor infractions, according to a company’s employment handbook. None of them are ever punished for these infractions, such as showing up a minute or two late for a shift, taking a break at the wrong time or something of this nature. The only exception to this lack of accountability is an employee within a protected class. Perhaps they are given less favorable jobs, they have their pay docked or they are given fewer hours than they want. They’re being discriminated against because the rules are only being applied to them.

Patterns of behavior

Another example involves clear patterns of discriminatory behavior, even if they are disguised as something else. For instance, perhaps the owner of the company says that they need to go through downsizing because they just can’t keep as many employees on staff. But what if all of the employees who are laid off due to the “downsizing” are in the same ethnic group, religious group or age bracket? Was the downsizing really just a way to fire all of these workers?

Employees who feel they have been discriminated against need to know what legal options they have. Even when it is disguised, discrimination of any type is not legally permissible when it is connected with an individual’s protected characteristics.