What is pretext in an employment law case?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2022 | Firm News |

If you work in a positive environment, you probably enjoy both your job duties and your colleagues. Still, if you become a victim of workplace discrimination, you may hate going to work every day. Fortunately, both federal and state laws probably protect you from this type of mistreatment.

According to reporting from Glass Door, more than 60% of U.S. workers have either been victims of workplace discrimination or witnessed it happening to others. Regrettably, if your employer is discriminating against you, you may not be able to trust your boss to admit to it.

Blame it on something else

Pretext happens when an employer blames adverse employment action on something other than discrimination. For example, your boss may refuse your promotion because you missed a meeting when his or her true motive is impermissible discrimination.

Try to cover bad actions

The reason employers use pretexts is to try to cover their bad actions. That is, many employers in the U.S. realize it is unlawful to discriminate against workers because of their race, religion, national origin, age or other protected characteristics. By finding other reasons to take adverse employment action against you, your boss may believe he or she is likely to avoid legal consequences.

Discourage you from asserting your rights

If your employer cites your job performance or another legally permissible reason to take adverse employment action against you, the goal may be to discourage you from asserting your legal rights. Specifically, your boss may want you to believe he or she acted legally when the opposite is true.

Ultimately, despite your manager’s stated reasons for penalizing you, it is advisable to determine the real reasons for his or her actions.