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Have You Been Discriminated Against at Work?

Every year, more than 100,000 people file discrimination claims with the Equal Employment Opportunty Commission (EEOC), the federal authority in charge of investigating workplace discrmination claims. However, this shockingly large number is still thought to include a great deal of underreporting, in part because people do not always recognize when they have been the victim of discrimination. So how do you know if you have been discriminated against at work?

  1. You have been insulted or degraded without consequences
    • Almost every company has some kind of basic requirement to maintain decorum, which generally includes not using insulting or degrading language towards others. However, some people use insults, slurs, or other inappropriate language towards coworkers and subordinates, seemingly without consequence. If this happens to you, it may mean you have been discriminated against.
  2. You are paid less than your co-workers
    • Generally speaking, people who have similar qualifications and have been working at the same job for roughly the same period of time should be paid around the same amount of money. And yet, people can have wildly different salaries despite having similar qualifications and experience. If you find you are being paid less or receive fewer benefits than a coworker with the same job, or if you are denied promotions or raises others in your position receive, you may have been discriminated against.
  3. You were not invited to trainings or events
    • One way some companies will try to justify discrimination is by saying that certain people can only get raises or promotions if they attend certain trainings, conferences, or events. While this may seem fair on the surface, it can be telling who gets invited to these essential training sessions, meetings, or events that are necessary to advance in a company. If you find that you routinely do not get invited to events necessary for promotions or raises, you may have been discriminated against.
  4. You suffered disproportionate punishment for a minor offense
    • Another way some employers will try to justify discriminating against employees is by misusing their internal disciplinary system. While everyone may be theoretically subject to the same rules, some discriminatory employers will punish certain employees more harshly for infractions than others. This helps to create a paper trail that justifies things like pay cuts, denying promotions, or other discriminatory actions.
  5. You have been punished for speaking out
    • Finally, one way to know you have been discriminated against is that you get punished for speaking out about misconduct you see. You have a legal right to report and discuss any labor violations you witness, including acts of discrimination. If you have suffered negative professional consequences after speaking out or reporting violations, you may have been discriminated against.


If you have gotten into a legal dispute with your employer, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 41 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000 or visit his contact page.

One thought on “Have You Been Discriminated Against at Work?”

  1. My husband said he’s concerned that one of his coworkers is discriminating against one of the Muslim employees. It’s good to know that sometimes discrimination can occur by not allowing certain employees access to training or promotions. I’ll talk to him and see if he can figure out if there is discrimination going on.

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