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When Does Being Passed Up For A Promotion Equal Discrimination?

On Behalf of | Sep 11, 2020 | Employment Discrimination, Gender Discrimination |


As an intelligent, experienced and qualified candidate who happens to be a member of a protected gender class, losing out on a promotion—again—may trigger the question: Was it because of my gender? Or was the other candidate truly more qualified?

If you’ve noticed troubling patterns with regards to discrimination at your place of employment or have any reason to suspect that gender was a factor in this hiring decision, you have legal recourse. In 2020, the so-called glass ceiling holds no weight in court—whatever the reality may be at your place of employment.

For a “glass ceiling” or promotion discrimination case, you will need a lawyer experienced in employment law matters who will not hesitate to go to bat for you.

What You Should Do Immediately

The first thing you should do following perceived promotion discrimination is to file an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) discrimination charge. This charge establishes a formal record of your complaint with the appropriate entity.

Second, you must consider whether you want to sue your employer. Keep in mind that these complaints can be challenging to prove. However, a suit can be worthwhile, especially if your employer has a history of illegal discrimination.

The Process Of Suing Your Employer

If you choose to sue your employer for promotion discrimination, it will be a complicated process. However, there are a few elements you should be aware of before entering a legal dispute.

  • To establish your claim, you must prove several things:
    • You are a member of a protected class.
    • You were qualified for the promotion.
    • The role remained open or was filled by someone with very similar qualifications.
  • Your employer must state why they didn’t promote you:
    • Your employer must give a reason, but they don’t have to prove that this is why they didn’t promote you; this is a crucial distinction.
  • If your employer offers an unrelated or invalid reason, you must show that the employer’s reason is not why they chose someone else.
    • In other words, you must prove this reason was the pretext for discrimination.

If the court rules in your favor, you can receive remedies such as back pay, compensatory damages, attorney fees, punitive damages and more. However, not all suits will be successful. It’s best to consult with an attorney about your unique circumstances before moving forward or making any statements.

You have a right to fair and equal treatment in the workplace—including advancement opportunities. If you feel your company is operating illegally, the law is on your side.

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