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"Glass ceiling" workplace discrimination

You may have heard of the term "glass ceiling" used to describe the limitations that some employees, especially minorities and women, face in the workplace. Although these limitations are not explicitly expressed in most cases, they exist nonetheless.

If you are experiencing glass ceiling discrimination, you do have rights. Read on to learn more about what glass ceiling discrimination is, and how you can exercise your rights if your employer is violating them.

What is the glass ceiling?

The term glass ceiling came about in the mid-1980s to describe workplace conditions that prevent women and minorities from moving to management positions in their workplaces. In 1987, the U.S. Department of Labor found that women held only 2 percent of top management positions and only 5 percent of corporate board positions. The Glass Ceiling Commission to study this issue came about as a result of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

How can I identify glass ceiling discrimination?

Defining the glass ceiling is easier than determining whether you are actually experiencing glass ceiling discrimination at your workplace. If you suspect you are experiencing discrimination and the inability to advance in your workplace due to your gender, your race, or any other basis that federal law protects from discrimination (age, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, religion), you should make sure you document all evidence as soon as possible. Getting documentation of the alleged discrimination is essential to building your case. Documentation includes any written communications, as well as accurate notes about meetings, conversations or other events in which you believe your employer discriminated against you.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the federal agency that accepts complaints of discrimination in the workplace. You may file a claim through them. You may also have grounds to file a lawsuit.

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