Workplace discrimination is illegal under both state and federal law. Under the Florida Civil Human Rights Act, an employer is not allowed to discriminate against an employee for reasons including, but not limited to, gender, race, age, and disability. Despite the laws prohibiting discrimination, however, it does frequently occur in today’s workplace.

There are workplace experiences where the discrimination against an employee is egregious. This can include blatant behaviors, comments and actions. In these instances, it is clear that a prohibited action has taken place and a corrective action plan must be implemented to immediately remedy it.

In other situations, however, discrimination is less obvious and therefore harder to detect and prevent. The first step to preventing and stopping workplace discrimination is to identify it. Although it can be difficult to impartially assess the behaviors taking place around you, it is crucial to evaluate each scenario from all sides. In this article, we share three main workplace issues and triggering behaviors that lead to possible patterns of discrimination.

1. Strategic Assignment of Work Duties. When an employer is discriminating against an employee, a common behavior pattern is for him or her to make the employee feel inadequate. Strategic assignments can be the root of this issue. A lesser task will signal to an employee that he or she is not able to complete the responsibilities that the rest of the employees can handle. In contrast, a nearly impossible task may mean an employer is attempting to demonstrate that the employee is insufficient at his or her job. These situations can signal discrimination and an employer who is working to reinforce the stereotype that certain people in certain groups are incompetent in the workplace.

2. Belittling Conversation Style. Workers who are subjected to discrimination may feel they are spoken to by employers in a negative or demeaning way. Consistent speech patterns that use belittling words, overtly negative feedback or harsh tones, without reason, can signify an ongoing issue of employment discrimination. Further, when discriminatory jokes and offensive comments are frequently made in an employee’s presence, this can be another way conversation style and behaviors act as the root of workplace discrimination. When discrimination is the issue, these comments are often directed toward a specific sexual orientation, race, religion, or age.

3. Unfair Treatment. Another way to identify possible workplace discrimination is if some employees receive preferential treatment over others. This can take the form of advancements, salaries, responsibilities and job performance expectations. For example, if an employee of one gender who always arrives late to work is frequently disciplined but an employee of the opposite gender in the same situation receives no chastisement, this can be an example of unfair treatment in the workplace.

Unfortunately, workplace discrimination is a problem that many employees face on a daily basis. Despite strong state and federal laws, discrimination can occur at any time. If you believe it is happening to you or a colleague, do not wait to talk to us. Our Tallahassee employment discrimination team is experienced in handling these issues and is able to provide you the guidance you need to overcome your challenges. You may contact them through our website or by calling them today at 850-222-2000.