If my boss tells me I am not getting the promotion because I am not a cultural fit, is that discrimination?

UPDATED: Mar 2, 2012

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If my boss tells me I am not getting the promotion because I am not a cultural fit, is that discrimination?

I have been told that I don’t fit their culture and that is why I won’t get promoted anytime soon. I signed a non-compete. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on March 2, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

What is meant by "not a cultural fit"?

Federal law prohibits racial or religious discrmination (among other things); Texas law prohibits discrimination on account of national origin and race as well. If the "culture" in question is based on your national origin (e.g. you are Mexican, and that's why you don't fit in), your race (e.g. it's an objection to Asian culture), or religion (e.g. you are Muslim or Jewish), then you may have a claim for illegal discrimination.

However, if the cultural mistatch is something else, like--

* You are politically liberal, but are working for a politically conservative company

* You are from the North originally (e.g. NY, MA) or the West (e.g. WA, CA) and don't fit in as well with Texas culture

* You dress differently, have body art or piercings that others don't have at work, etc.

--then it is legal to not promote you because you do not meet the company's idea or criteria for a higher-level employee. Therefore, the kind of cultual mismatch is critical to determining your rights.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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