In the world of business, a promotion is a way to further your career while being recognized for exemplary work. Sadly, promotion discrimination can occur. For instance, 57% of Black Americans reported discrimination in consideration for promotions in a recent study. This discrimination can derail your career, ruin your professional reputation, and cause personal damages such as lost wages.
Here we discuss what promotion discrimination is, how you are protected, and what you can do if you are a victim.
What is Promotion Discrimination?
Being denied a promotion because you are part of a protected class – whether it be race, religion, gender, age, or another class – is unlawful. If you are one of the protected classes, you are sheltered by both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the New York City Human Rights Law.
How Do I Prove Promotion Discrimination?
Promotion discrimination can be hard to prove as there are often legitimate reasons for someone to be passed over for a promotion. The employer will likely argue that there was a permissible reason for not offering a promotion, such as:
- Lack of qualifications
- More qualified applicant
- Poor performance
- Inability to perform required tasks even with reasonable accommodations
- Other lawful reasons
In New York City, it is also unlawful to discriminate against workers based on:
- Immigration status
- Citizenship status
- Sexual and reproductive health factors
- Employment status
- Credit history
- Caregiver status
Further, employers can’t refuse promotions if an employee engages in certain actions outside of working hours, on premises other than those owned by the employer, and without using the employer’s equipment. Protected activities include:
- Political activities
- Legal recreational activities
- Legal use of cannabis or other consumable products
If an employee is denied a promotion because of one of the above reasons, they have cause to bring an action under the law.
What Do I Need to Prove for Promotion Discrimination?
So what can you do to prove that you were a victim of promotion discrimination? For a successful case, a claimant must prove that:
- They are a member of a protected class
- A promotion was denied
- You experienced treatment that similarly-situated employees didn’t
- Your membership in a protected class was the cause of the differential treatment
Establishing a causal relationship can be complicated. By presenting evidence including patterns of discriminatory behavior, comments by supervisors, and evidence of discriminatory intent, you can show that the employer discriminated against you.
What Compensation is Available for Promotion Discrimination?
- Past, present, and future lost wages
- Loss of benefits
- Attorney fees
- Emotional Damages
How Can I File a Claim for Promotion Discrimination?
Before filing a federal lawsuit for promotion discrimination, an employee must first go through the administrative process of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Experienced Discrimination Lawyers can help you gather evidence and prove your case to the EEOC.
The EEOC has 150 days to act on the complaint. If they fail to do so, you are then free to pursue action on your own. You can also pursue a lawsuit if the EEOC sends you a notice of the employee’s right to sue.
Promotion discrimination is a real problem that deserves the help of an experienced New York City attorney. If you suspect that you are a victim of promotion discrimination, our experienced and zealous legal team can help: contact us today at (347) 535-0999.