What Is Indirect Discrimination?

HomeDiscriminationWhat Is Indirect Discrimination?
December 30, 2022

One of the most frustrating feelings as an employee is coming in one day and finding out that there are new policies for you to follow. It’s even more frustrating when these changes happen with little or no communication from your employer.

But what if these policies harmed you and other members of your race, gender, or sexual orientation? That feeling that you can’t quite put your finger on could be evidence of indirect discrimination. You need an employment law attorney from Olivier & Schreiber, LLP, on your side.

What Is Indirect Discrimination?

Every employer knows that employment discrimination is illegal. Discrimination in the workplace can be easy to spot. It’s easy to tell when your employer withholds certain opportunities from you based on your race, disability, or gender.

But indirect discrimination is a little more subtle. Indirect discrimination happens when a policy or rule is implemented that appears to affect all workers in the same way at first glance. But it causes more severe consequences for a particular group of people.

Groups That Can Be Indirectly Discriminated Against

Just like with direct discrimination, you can be indirectly discriminated against because of your:

  • Race
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender
  • Parental status
  • Disability

What Is Considered A Policy Or Rule?

A policy or rule is an arrangement or a decision to do something in the future. They are usually associated with a set of criteria or conditions.

Another characteristic is that it must appear neutral as if it applies to all workers. If it is blatantly discriminatory towards a certain protected group, that is an example of direct discrimination.

What Are Particular Disadvantages?

How can you tell if a certain policy or rule indirectly discriminates against you? For a policy to be an example of indirect discrimination, it must put you and your protected group at a particular disadvantage.

What Does A Particular Disadvantage Look Like?

Let’s say your employer implements a policy requiring all workers to work on Saturdays. If your religion prevents you from working on Saturdays because that is your day of worship, that is an example of indirect discrimination.

Another example could be a policy that all employees must wear their hair in a particular fashion. You can be indirectly discriminated against when you wear hairstyles that reflect your racial identity.

How To Prove Indirect Discrimination

To file a successful indirect discrimination claim, your employer’s policy must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be neutral
  • It must put you at a particular disadvantage
  • It must harm all people who share the same characteristics as you

The last requirement is often the hardest to prove. You must have concrete proof that your employer’s policy has negatively affected the other members of your protected class similarly. You can use general knowledge, statistics, or expert testimony to prove this negative effect.

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today

At Olivier & Schreiber LLP, our discrimination lawyers have significant experience litigating various civil claims. Contact us online for a free consultation, so you are not stuck finding a new job.




(415) 484-0980


Make an Appointment

Most Recent News & Events

Stay informed with the most relevant news in our field

NUVEW | Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved | Accessibility Notice | Privacy Policy