Toni Jaramilla, A Professional Law Corporation - Los Angeles Employment Attorney Toni Jaramilla, A Professional Law Corporation - Los Angeles Employment Attorney
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Were you a victim of pretextual employment discrimination?

In our not-so-distant past, minority voters were disenfranchised and kept from voting under the pretext of literacy tests. That finally went the way of the dodo, but pretextual employment discrimination still lingers in the workplace.

What is pretextual employment discrimination? It can be challenging to prove, but essentially it is a covert form of discrimination that sets up allegedly non-discriminatory job requirements that actually make it quite difficult for members of certain protected classes to be hired or promoted. Here's how it might play out.

An employer might say that it's mandatory to have a high school diploma to be hired even though the job has no requirements where a diploma would actually be necessary. That would effectively weed out many applicants who have learning disabilities and even those who dropped out of high school but later returned to get their GED certificate.

Or perhaps an employer states that a position requires a certain level of technological proficiency, which of course many jobs do, especially those in the tech industry. But it could also be a sneaky way to weed out older workers from the job pool, as there is a perception that older workers are less proficient at technology than their younger counterparts. Does the job really require Photoshop and video-editing skills? It's something to look into.

Other employers may try to discourage women from applying by requiring that applicants be able to lift 50 pounds or more overhead. Some jobs certainly do require this and workers must be able to do it safely or risk injuring themselves and others. But not all may. And yet this pseudo-requirement bars many females from the hiring process.

If you suspect that a company is using pretextual employment discrimination to screen their workforce illegally, you may be able to take legal action against them if you were denied employment or a promotion as a result.

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