Demographic balance in the workplace

On behalf of Sullivan Law Group APC posted in workplace discrimination on Friday, August 24, 2018.

How you act and operate at work is often a reflection of your personality. Just as is the case in your personal life, then, it might be expected that you tend to gravitate towards coworkers you can relate with. This will often include colleagues of the same sex, race, religion, nationality or political views. It is for this very reason that cliques often form in an office. Workplace cliques may not necessarily be a bad thing, yet what happens if they bleed over into operational and hiring practices? Many come to us here at the Sullivan Law Group asking whether looking to work predominantly with people similar to themselves constitutes workplace discrimination. Unfortunately, there is not an easy answer to this question. 

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recognizes the following discrimination categories: 

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Race
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Capacity 

Of course, common sense should be applied when determining whether discrimination has occurred. A single case of a company hiring a woman over a man may not necessarily mean that said company discriminates against men. The same may be true when considering the makeup of a workplace environment and the general trends of its industry. Members of certain sexes, age groups or religions might naturally gravitate towards a certain field, which could result in cases of certain groups not being represented that still might not qualify as discrimination. 

This brings us back to the question of hiring and/or working with individuals from similar demographics. Such a practice may not be discriminatory in every case; it rather may simply be representative of the profile of an industry. However, should such practices be found to be deliberately exclusionary, then you may have evidence to support a claim of discrimination. More information on identifying workplace discrimination can be found here on our site