How Workplace Discrimination Affects Career Development

Several factors impact career development in the workplace and unfortunately, for some employees, discrimination is one of them. Despite increased awareness of diversity and inclusion, and key pieces of UK legislation protecting against different types of discrimination, unfair treatment in the workplace remains a common problem. 

Direct discrimination and indirect discrimination can both impact employees’ professional growth, as well as their overall well-being. In this post, we have explored some of the different ways discrimination affects career development and outlined steps for employees who have been discriminated against to make a discrimination at work claim.

Stages of Employment Affected by Discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 (EqA) covers issues involving discrimination at work and it provides protection for every section of UK employment. Some of the different stages of employment that can be affected by discrimination include; 

  • Recruitment 

People can be discriminated against before they even become part of the workforce. During the recruitment process, biases related to age, gender, race, disability or other protected characteristics can influence decision-making. Employee discrimination can occur during the selection process or interview questions that disadvantage certain candidates. As a result, highly qualified individuals can be overlooked for opportunities that align with their skills and experiences, limiting their career prospects from the outset.

  • Training and Development 

Once hired, employees can face discrimination when being selected for training and development programmes that are crucial for career advancement. This type of workplace discrimination can be subtle, such as consistently selecting a particular group over others for advanced training sessions or leadership courses without transparent criteria. Not having access to these opportunities can restrict professional growth and leave employees without the knowledge required to apply for other positions. 

  • Performance Reviews and Promotions

Discrimination during performance reviews and promotion decisions is an issue that directly impacts career trajectories. Biassed assessments based on factors unrelated to job performance can result in deserving employees being passed over for promotions or receiving unfairly low performance ratings. This not only affects immediate job prospects but can also damage their professional reputation, impacting future opportunities for progression both within their current workplace and elsewhere.

  • Dismissal and Redundancies

Decisions relating to dismissals and redundancies can also be discriminatory, often mirroring broader organisational issues. The process of selecting employees to be let go can be unjustly influenced and objective criteria might not be used. This can result in the wrong people being chosen for dismissal or redundancy based on protected characteristics. Dismissals and redundancies can cause significant obstacles in professional trajectories, including the impact they have on reputation and future employment opportunities. 

Impact of Discrimination on Career Development

Ultimately, the effect of workplace discrimination on an employee’s career can be significant. Discriminatory behaviour can result in employees experiencing slower career progression, with fewer opportunities for promotions and salary increases compared to other colleagues. The impact ongoing discrimination has on well-being can also result in decreased job satisfaction, which can further hinder professional performance and advancement.

Discrimination at work can also influence self-esteem and confidence, making it harder for employees to put themselves forward for leadership roles. A lack of representation in higher positions can also make it difficult for future generations of employees to envision themselves in those roles, reducing the likelihood of them applying for promotions. 

Making a Discrimination at Work Claim

If you think you have been discriminated against in the workplace, the EqA is there to protect you. You may be able to take a discrimination claim to the Employment Tribunal to seek justice.

  • Gather Evidence – Document instances when you have been treated unfairly, including emails, witness statements and any relevant communications that illustrate discriminatory behaviour. It is important to keep a detailed record of dates and times of incidents to strengthen your claim.
  • Report Internally – Follow your employer’s procedures for reporting discrimination. This often involves raising a grievance with your HR department. Ensuring you adhere to internal policies can be crucial for your claim and may provide an opportunity for resolution without the need for legal action.
  • Seek Legal Advice – Speak to an employment law specialist who can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances. Legal professionals specialising in discrimination law can offer advice on the strength of your case and the best course of action. They can also help you navigate the complexities of Employment Tribunal proceedings and prepare for potential outcomes.
  • Consider Formal Legal Action – If internal resolution attempts are unsuccessful, you may need to consider taking formal legal action. There are strict time limits for Employment Tribunal claims and most need to be filed within three months less one day from when the discrimination occurred. Understanding UK legislation and the requirements for making a claim can significantly impact the success of your case.

Standing up against workplace discrimination can not only make your work life more enjoyable, but also impact future career development. Making a claim can help to prevent discrimination from occurring again and ensure other employees do not experience the same unfair treatment. 

Speak to an Expert About Workplace Discrimination

All in all, workplace discrimination is a significant issue that undermines equality and fairness in the workplace. Employees need to remain vigilant against discriminatory behaviour, creating a culture of inclusivity and respect. If you have been discriminated against at work, taking action can help you get the justice you deserve and prevent ongoing effects on career development. Not to mention, it can contribute to broader efforts to combat workplace discrimination, helping to ensure other employees do not experience the same behaviour. 

Should you need some assistance making a discrimination at work claim, Damian McCarthy is the person to contact. Damian has a client-focused approach and knows how to get to the heart of a case, ensuring the best possible results. With many years of experience working on employee discrimination claims, Damian will work closely with you to develop a winning strategy. Damian can help you prepare for Employment Tribunal hearings and guide you through the entire process. Find out whether Damian can support you with workplace discrimination on his website today.