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What are the subtle signs of unlawful discrimination at work?

Discrimination is a severe problem, especially at work. Federal law imposes various provisions against it, enforcing equal employment opportunities in different circumstances. Expanded versions of these policies also exist, varying from state to state.

You can still find subtle signs of discrimination at work despite these efforts. Employees are responsible for reporting these instances, and employers should address them in compliance with laws against employment-related discrimination.

Unlawful discrimination can happen when the protected group’s race, color, religion, sex, age or disability becomes the basis of the employer’s actions and decisions, causing adverse effects. Subtle signs usually manifest in the following situations:

  • Discriminating when choosing a candidate for a job position
  • Classifying employees based on employment-related discrimination factors and using it as the basis for promotions and other opportunities
  • Language in job descriptions or advertisements implying a preference for certain groups
  • Teasing or comments related to discrimination factors
  • Overlooking qualifications of individuals who belong to a protected class

Unlike harassment, these examples tend to be more understated, making them difficult to spot. Still, they can lead to more severe forms of discrimination if not addressed immediately.

What can employers do?

Missouri state policies burden employers to establish fair practices in their organizations. For example, they could develop a process to tackle and manage discrimination incidents in the workplace. Still, they do not need to wait for employee complaints before taking measures against the problem.

Employers could take the initiative by creating a more inclusive workplace by updating their procedures and hiring practices. They could also consult the Missouri Commission on Human Rights for their opinions on bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQ) to keep in mind.