As an employee, you have worker rights that prohibit certain characteristics being held against you. As such, your age, sex, religion, origin or health issues are protected from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. This ensures that no matter who you are, you are given the same basic rights as anyone else.
Yet, despite your employee rights, it’s not always easy to spot workplace discrimination and harassment. This is often because signs of discrimination and harassment are done in secrecy or disguised through subtle remarks or actions. If you’re unsure if someone is violating your rights, but they’re obscuring their actions, then you may need to know what to watch for.
Here’s what you should know:
5 subtle signs of discrimination and harassment
While there’s no extensive list of unlawful actions someone may do to discriminate against or harass a worker, there are many subtle signs that you may be a target. The following are actions done against protected workers:
- Inappropriate comments: This may target someone’s character and prove to demean or hurt them, which can cause others to join in on the act.
- Unwarranted touching: Shaking hands is customary in a job, but if it leads to unwarranted hugs, awkward hand placements or deliberate groaping, then it may be a form of sexual harassment.
- Unequal pay: You may find your pay isn’t as high as people alongside you, and this may even affect people with similar characteristics.
- Denied promotion: A worker may have had all the credentials for promotion and possibly been promised the role, yet, because of their protected characteristic, which they can’t control, they were denied their advanced role.
- Inappropriate interview questions: It’s common practice to be asked many questions during an interview, but these questions, typically, shouldn’t divert from anything that isn’t related to the job.
There are many other forms of discrimination and harassment such as denied accommodations or reduced salary or benefits, all of which may lead to harm if the victim doesn’t understand their legal rights.