If your employer targeted and fired you because you made a complaint about harassment or belong to a particular racial or ethnic group, they would violate your rights. Most people can recognize discrimination when it occurs to them on a one-on-one basis. Wrongful termination, promotion discrimination and even hostile work environments can push workers into action.
However, when it company makes larger discriminatory decisions, an individual affected by those decisions may not see the pattern right away. Layoffs and downsizing are often an opportunity for a business to engage in mass employment discrimination. How can you determine if racial discrimination played a role in who got let go and who the company continues to employ?
Look at the overall group of people terminated
The simplest way to establish discrimination in a large-scale termination or layoff is to look at the people the company chose to let go. If everyone laid off or fired shares certain characteristics or if a certain group of people has disproportionate representation in the group of people terminated, that could be a warning sign of discrimination.
If the company lets go of most of its workers from a specific racial background or didn’t terminate any team members from another race, they may have made those decisions based on race rather than employment history and job performance. The decision to downsize or layoff some staff members may be necessary given the company’s financial status, but management should be careful not to factor in protected characteristics like race when making major decisions about employment
Recognizing some of the sneaky ways that companies hide their racial discrimination can help you fight back against it.