Discrimination can come in many forms, such as ageism, sexism, racism, etc. Sometimes, discrimination or harassment is open and obvious. However, it is also common that discrimination is hidden beneath covert actions. Sometimes, it can be difficult to prove that one is being discriminated against when an employer hides or easily dismisses their actions with excuses.
It takes a lot of courage to address discrimination in the workplace. When one finally works up the nerve to talk to an employer about being discriminated against, it is common that the employer will either deny the accusations or make excuses.
At-will employment can be used to hide discrimination and retaliation
When both the employer and the employee can terminate employment at any time without cause, it is considered “at-will” employment. Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state, and sometimes, firing somebody under at-will law allows for discrimination and retaliation to go undetected. At-will employment can offer an employer many excuses for hiding their discriminatory actions by firing without cause.
“I was only joking.”
One of the most common excuses given by the perpetrator is that that they did not discriminate, but were only joking. Your employer or coworkers might say you are being overly sensitive and that they were joking. In this way, they are trying to say that it is your fault for not having a sense of humor, but you know differently. Sometimes, behind smiles and jokes is hate and malice.
Employers gaslighting employees
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where one person makes the other question their own sanity, their own memories or perception of what actually took place. An employer may suggest that “it is all in your own head” or “you are just imagining things” or “you are reading too much into it.” These can all simply be attempts to cover up the actual discrimination. If not careful, you can begin to question whether or not you experienced discrimination or retaliation in the workplace.
There are numerous tactics used to hide discrimination. It is important to listen to your conscience. If you know in your heart that you were treated unfairly, then professional guidance that is experienced in employment law, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination in Pennsylvania can help to ensure that your rights are protected.