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Have you ever been in a situation at work where you felt like you were unfairly treated due to factors outside of your control? Most notably, comments or actions because of your race, age, skin color, gender, disability or national origin. If this happened to you, then you may have been a victim of employment discrimination.

Employment discrimination can be tricky to pinpoint. If you were late to work one day and was verbally accosted for this action, but others have done it without these consequences, then your co-worker may be discriminating against you. Sometimes discrimination is not easy to detect. Familiarize yourself with some common signs of discrimination so you are ready to protect your rights.

The signs of discrimination

As an employee, you are protected from discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Though you are protected, are you aware of everything you are protected from? Here are the signs of discrimination you may encounter at work that could indicate that you could be a victim of discrimination.

  1. Inappropriate jokes – Most people want their workplace to be a fun and easy-going place where they get along with their co-workers. This means people will tell jokes to lighten the mood. However, some people may tell jokes based on gender, age or race that they think are funny, but are hurtful. If you see a pattern of the same type of jokes being told, it may be a warning sign of discrimination.
  2. Lack of diversity in the company – If you notice that the same type of people are constantly being hired and certain groups or genders of people are being passed over, there may be a culture of discrimination.
  3. Positions or roles stay the same – When you see a certain type of person consistently being hired to do a job within the company, it may mean that your employer does not believe others can adequately complete the work. This can easily transfer to other parts of the company where there can be a feeling that only a certain gender or race can perform a particular job.
  4. Overlooked for a promotion – If you have been working at the company for some time and have seen several other employees move up the chain faster than you, this could be a sign of discrimination. This type of discrimination can significantly impact your financial well-being if you miss out of salary increases and career opportunities.
  5. Poor review – Did you receive a poor review when you believed you were going to receive excellent marks on your performance? Discrimination can come in the form of people taking other factors into account other than the quality of your work.
  6. Suspect interview questions – You may be able to pinpoint discrimination before you are even hired. If you receive questions about starting a family or when you want to retire, this can be a pre-cursor to an environment of discrimination. It is illegal to ask these questions and can show that other factors besides your ability to do the job are carefully watched by the employer.

If you believe that situations on the job have left you as a victim of discrimination, you should contact an employment law attorney as soon as possible. By getting an expert opinion, you can discuss the details of what you experienced and decide if legal action is warranted.

As sexual harassment cases seemingly become more frequent, business owners have a reason to be worried. Sexual harassment cases can be bad for employee morale and for business.

For business owners who are concerned someone on their management staff could exhibit behavior that leads to a #MeToo moment, there are steps to take. Here are three things to do to create a work environment that is not susceptible to sexual harassment.

1. Hold partners accountable

One way businesses can reduce sexual harassment claims and weed out bad actors is by dedicating to working only with the best vendors. It creates a supply chain of trustworthy companies, which ripples into your own company’s culture.

Some consumers are pushing companies to do this. As an example, the Coalition of Immolake workers persuaded consumers to only buy from food sellers who are certified “Fair Food Farms,” and the workers pressured companies to “sign legally-binding agreements promising to only source tomatoes from Fair Food Farms with no outstanding wage theft, trafficking, sexual harassment, or other issues.”

It led to several disciplinary actions and firings, and recent food seasons have shown more companies with zero harassment instances. Companies can hold their vendors to that standard without consumer pressure, which sends a message to their own employee base.

2. Promote more women

Research has shown that having more women in management positions reduces sexual harassment at work. Even though the management team may not be the perpetrators, incidents can sometimes be taken less seriously by those managers, which leads to a sexual harassment lawsuit from an employee. Having more equity in management can affect workplace culture positively.

3. Take accusations seriously

If an employee does make a complaint, don’t brush it off – even if it doesn’t sound that serious to you. An incident that seems innocuous to you could be painful for the employee and make the workplace a hostile environment, which could lead to a lawsuit. Investigate it and get human resources involved. It sends a message to the team that you take accusations seriously, and it can impact the culture in a big way to avoid future issues.

While there is no way to completely prevent your employees from committing sexual harassment, these three items can make a big difference in creating a workplace where harassment isn’t tolerated.