One of the most common ways for someone to dispute discrimination is to claim it never happened. When you are unaware of what legally constitutes discrimination, it can be difficult to defend against this type of gaslighting.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes discrimination can occur in a few different ways and is not always immediately apparent.
One of the hallmarks of discrimination is that it involves treatment that differs from one person to another. While certain situations may depend on the details, in general, your employer should treat everyone the same. If you break your arm and need two weeks off work and your coworker has a medical issue that requires two weeks off work, the way your employer handles it should be the same. Your employer should not give you the two weeks with no questions asked but deny your coworker unless he or she meets specific requirements. Unfair treatment is a cornerstone of discrimination.
Another factor that may point to harassment is if an employer is gathering information it does not need to assess your ability to do the job. This typically happens during the hiring process, but it could also occur once you are working for the company. Your employer does not need to know certain things about you that could lead to discrimination. For example, your religious beliefs are private, and your employer should not demand you to disclose them.
The law protects you from your employer’s discriminating tactics. You do not have to put up with being treated differently because of biases or opinions of your employer.