A “glass ceiling” represents an invisible barrier that prevents people from rising beyond a certain level in a workplace. The glass ceiling is typically used in reference to discrimination against women in the workplace, but also applies to discrimination against all marginalized groups. While the barrier is invisible, glass ceiling discrimination has visible effects; it causes there to be disproportionately few women and or minority employees in upper management when compared to companywide statistics. Glass ceiling discrimination prevents women and minority employees from receiving promotions, receiving raises, and gaining recognition and power at work.

How the Law Can Help Employees Break the “Glass Ceiling” in their Workplace

Navruz Avloni is an experienced employment attorney dedicated to fighting against discrimination in the workplace. She has successfully represented numerous clients experiencing unlawful discrimination at work. If you believe you may be experiencing glass ceiling discrimination in the workplace and looking for a discrimination lawyer, reach out to Navruz Avloni for a consultation.

Federal and State employment laws make it unlawful for your employer to discriminate against you on the basis of your sex, gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or on the basis of any other protected category. Your employer may not discriminate against you in any aspect of your employment, including but not limited to hiring, pay, promotions, workplace opportunities, or assignments.

Unfortunately, despite legal protections prohibiting discrimination, glass ceiling discrimination is not uncommon in the workplace. According to the Economist’s Glass Ceiling Index published in March of 2022 which focuses on gender discrimination, women only make up a third of managers and a quarter of board members at the companies surveyed. Out of 29 compared countries, the Economist’s Glass Ceiling Index ranked the United States the 20th best country for women in business.

Glass ceiling discrimination can occur anywhere, but is most likely found in industries historically dominated by white male leadership. Interestingly, glass ceiling discrimination rarely, if ever, impacts just one individual at a company; most likely it is a problem for all women or minority employees who work at the company. If you believe you are experiencing glass ceiling discrimination, you are not alone.

The Glass Cieling: Steps to take to prove your case.

To prove glass ceiling discrimination, an employee must demonstrate that they have been denied opportunities at work, for example hiring, promotion, or raise, because of their gender, race, or other protected characteristic. The employee must also demonstrate that they were meeting all requirements of their job and performing well. Demonstrating that there has been a pattern and practice of disproportionate treatment preventing women and or marginalized employees from progressing within the workplace will also strengthen a glass ceiling discrimination claim.

If you are Experiencing Discrimination or Retaliation at Work

If you have experienced discrimination at work, you may be entitled to compensation, including emotional distress damages and punitive damages, under federal and state laws. Take the following steps to support your case:

  1. Save Evidence: Record all relevant events or interactions in writing. Save related notes, statistics, and documents. You have the right to request your personnel file from your employer at any time. You may request your personnel file to review any documents you have signed and ensure that your file is complete.
  2. Report the Discrimination: Report the discrimination directly to your employer. If your employer does not correct their behavior, you may file a complaint with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (if your employer has more than 15 employees) or with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) (if your employer has more than 5 employees). There is a 300-day deadline to file with the EEOC and a 3-year deadline to file with the DFEH.

3. Find an Attorney: Reach out to an employment law firm. Navruz Avloni is an employment attorney with years of experience dedicated to fighting for your right to a workplace free of unlawful discrimination and harassment. Click here schedule a free consultation with Navruz Avloni.