5 Signs You're Being Discriminated Against at Work and What to Do

Discrimination is an ongoing problem that occurs daily in many workplaces across the world. It’s natural that some personalities clash. However, being coworkers, it’s important to treat each other with respect and dignity, notwithstanding the existing disagreements. Except, when you notice a particular unjust treatment toward your person, especially on the basis of things you cannot control, you might be a victim of workplace discrimination.

Experts from mcolaw.com agree that the discrimination in the workplace is often subtle, and the victim might not recognize the position they are in. Therefore, you should look out for red flags that may alarm you, such as inappropriate jokes, promotion pass-over, minimal diversity, or problematic interview questions. If you recognize some of those patterns, you might need to refer to more in-depth information. Read this article to read more about signs of discrimination at work and what can be done.

What is workplace discrimination?

Discrimination at the workplace is when you are treated differently from other employees who have the same status and similar experiences as yourself. It could be based on your gender, race, disability, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or even marital status. This happens when certain forms of prejudice are tolerated and accepted in a work environment.

For example, you might be overlooked for promotion in favor of your colleague because of their skin color or the way they dress. Or maybe you receive a lower salary or fewer benefits than workers who do the same job. There are a lot of forms of discrimination, though it is not always just about receiving unequal treatment because of your personal characteristics.

Some examples of such scenarios are:

1. You've noticed inappropriate jokes

Inappropriate jokes can be a source of discrimination at the workplace. Noticing how other colleagues talk can help you realize whether you are on the receiving end of discriminatory jokes or not. If you have been experiencing this for a long time and it is making you uncomfortable, then you should think about reporting your concern to your manager.

2. You've been passed over for promotion frequently

If you have been passed over for promotion despite your qualifications, then you may be a victim of workplace discrimination. It occurs when an individual has fewer opportunities to grow and develop as compared to other colleagues. However, in certain cases, these are attributed to other factors that allow your colleague to be promoted instead of you. If you have been overlooked for promotions and you wish to discuss it with your manager, make sure to present concrete evidence that could prove that it’s unjust treatment.

3. You are facing minimal diversity in the workplace

According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, women are much more likely to experience job discrimination than men. This is because statistics reveal that most corporate boards and executive positions are dominated by men. Therefore, if most of your colleagues are male, this could be one of the reasons you are being discriminated against.

However, this could also point out the fact that your workplace is dominated by males, therefore, females might constitute a smaller number. In order to distinguish between gender discrimination and natural distribution, look out for information regarding minorities in the company. If there is a lack of diversity in ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical abilities, or religion, you may be experiencing workplace discrimination.

4. You receive poor reviews despite good results

You may be a victim of workplace discrimination if you are receiving poor reviews from your managers even though you have not yet received bad reports from your clients or customers. You might be discriminated against based on your race or gender. This is an alarming sign for you, and you should report your concern to your manager and ask for concrete explanations as to why you’re being rated low, despite performing well on all other aspects.

5. During the interview, your interviewer asks inappropriate questions

During the interview process, your interviewer should ask only questions relevant to the position you are applying for and should not delve into personal matters such as your religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. The same goes for some questions about your family members and children. Some interview questions can be inappropriate and discriminatory in nature, even though they appear non-discriminatory on the surface.

What can you do about discrimination at work?

If you feel like you are being treated unfairly, discriminated against, or harassed because of your race, gender, or other personal characteristics, you should document the date, time, and situation in which you felt uncomfortable. You should also note what happened and who was involved in the incident. Keep copies of any paperwork related to the case. If possible, try to gather evidence that illustrates the issue.

If you have noticed discrimination, you may want to report it to your manager. As mentioned earlier, while discrimination may seem very subtle, you should be able to recognize the signs. Your manager is in the best place to help you resolve the issue. If you are feeling uncomfortable and are not satisfied with how the matter is handled, you should report it to another superior or human resources representative.

However, if the problem continues, it might be better to seek legal counsel. The victim should consult with a lawyer and decide whether they want to pursue a legal course of action. If there was a clear violation of the law that caused harm to the victim’s reputation or financial stability, then they may have a valid claim against their employer. If this is the case, then the attorney would legally represent their client and put an end to the injustice.


Discrimination at the workplace can be harmful to your mental health and your professional career. You should be able to recognize these signs and fight back. Remember that it is not your fault, and you do not deserve to be treated in a certain way.

Remember that you have rights, and nothing will prevent you from fighting for them. If you think you are being discriminated against, do not hesitate to contact an employment attorney. They will be able to provide insight into your case and help you seek the best course of action.

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Posted - 01/03/2022