How do you know when an employer is discriminating against you?

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How do you know when an employer is discriminating against you?

I am a 21 year old mixed race (Asian/Caucasian) female. I work at a telemarketing company as a assistant coach (floor manager). Previously, my position consisted of being “on the floor” as needed, with most of my time spent receiving calls. For the past month I have adopted all the responsibility that a floor manager would have. The problem is, I’m still getting paid like an assistant manager. This seriously effects my finances, because of the way the company’s commission policy works. I feel discriminated because my male co-worker was officially promoted, and we have the same responsibilities.

Asked on August 10, 2011 West Virginia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Examples of discrimination against an employee can be exhibited by racial comments, off color jokes about that person's ethnicity, race, sex, sexual orientation, pay discrepancy for the same work for men and women, demotions in pay and/or salary and/or responsibility without justification, co-employees receiving promotions who are not as qualified as the person claiming discrimination where the person making the claim of discrimination is not afforded similar advancement.

Just because you have been given greater responsibility at work but no pay increase does not suggest that you are being discriminated against because you are mixed race or are female at this time.

Perhaps given this recession in our country your employer simply does not have the funds to give you a raise for the increased responsibility given you the past month? Perhaps your company wants to wait several months to see how well you are doing in your new position before increased salary is discussed?

You should have a meeting with your supervisor to discuss how well you are doing with your new role at your company. If you get a positive assessment, then you need to discuss a pay increase for what you are now doing.

Good luck.

 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Discrimination is when job or employment decisions--including promotion--are made on the basis of a protected characteristic, such as a person's race, religion, age over 40, sex/gender, or disability. However, that is not to say that every time a negative employment action is taken against a member of one of those groups, or some position action taken on behalf of someone who is not protected, that it is discrimination. For example, a mixed race woman would be passed over for  promotion, and a white male colleague promoted over her, if her collegue has more experience, better credentials, has hit higher sales targets, gotten better reviews, has more time in grade, etc. The issue is not what was done, but why. If you believe you may have been discriminated against, because you do not believe there is some "neutral" explanation for the promotion of your colleague and not you, you should either contact the labor department or consult with an employment attorney.


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