Actions To Take When You’ve Been Passed Up For Promotion

Workplace discrimination can be difficult to deal with regardless of your position, gender, age, or experience. 

In most cases, this problem appears to be a huge and impenetrable wall that can hinder your career growth over time. This is because discrimination in the workplace can cause unnecessary stress that affects your overall performance and attitude towards your environment and the people you work with. 

When faced with this situation, you may struggle with having your efforts recognized by your colleagues and superiors. During these times, several people are often passed up for a promotion. Repetitive occurrences of situations like this can lead you to feel highly demotivated, along with a host of negative emotions towards your colleagues and superiors.

There are several possible outcomes when dealing with workplace discrimination that goes beyond a slow career growth. Some may include different forms of harassment, such as physical abuse or bullying, leading to significant mental stress on your mind and body. Your overall health may also be affected, making them more challenging to deal with.

Being unappreciated, underpaid, and overworked can quickly lead you to undermine all your efforts and the progress you’ve made throughout your career. Apart from seeking the help of a workplace discrimination lawyer, there are also several other methods you can try to face the situation should you ever be in it. 

This article covers the possible courses of action you can take in these different situations where confrontation may be difficult to do. For more information and other quick facts, take a look at the infographic presented below.


Infographic guide to being passed up for an employee promotion


Reasons for Wrongful Failure to Promote

  • Gender

Sexism is still prevalent in the workplace, where women are more often put at a disadvantage. An employer should not discriminate against one’s sex, gender orientation, or sexuality.

  • Ethnicity/Race/National Origin/Color/Ancestry

Racism can be found in many parts of the world and is one of the leading causes of workplace discrimination. Unfortunately, some people who know that workplace racism is illegal typically still do racist acts, only in a subtler manner.

  • Religious Beliefs

In some cases, superiors may require employees to change practices that go against certain religious beliefs. This can include not allowing religious garments and clothing inside work premises.

  • Physical Disabilities

Employers may pay less or not promote an employee who has a physical disability that hinders work efficiency. Other employees may also be favored over them because of this.

  • Mental Disabilities

Some employers believe that an employee with a mental condition will hinder the company’s output and affect total revenue. Because of this, they are mistreated by not being appropriately compensated or given a promotion.

  • Medical Condition 

Health insurance can be costly for companies, which can cause some to be unfavorable towards employees with certain conditions.

  • Age (40 and older)

Older working employees are generally discriminated against for their lower-level ability and the assumption that they are too old for most jobs.

  • Marital Status 

Unfair treatment from this type of discrimination can include bullying and the denial of certain benefits, promotions, or training. 

  • Pregnancy 

Discrimination against pregnant women includes treating them as if they are disabled or unable to perform tasks. This can also occur when they’re not given layoff and training benefits.

  • Citizenship Status

Discrimination based on one’s citizenship is similar to racial discrimination. The assumption is made based on negative connotations or bias preference towards one race over another.


How to Take Further Action

  • Know the laws

Seek the right information from local government websites and similar platforms. This will allow you to determine if your employer’s acts have legal consequences.

  • Identify if you fall under the protected class

The protected class differ based on local federal laws, such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

  • File a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Those under the protected class can have their issues reviewed by the EEOC if they require assistance settling discrimination issues.

  • Work out compensations

Compensation can be discussed if both parties want to handle the situation fairly. In exchange, you will most likely be asked to drop your complaints once a settlement is accepted.

  • Eliminate factors of emotion 

In most cases, complaints are not entertained if they are based on feelings or hunches alone. So, remember to stay calm when you file your complaint or explain your situation to your manager or HR. This can also allow you to focus on key details that can help with your case and prove that you have been passed up a promotion due to discrimination.

  • Keep a record of all offensive actions

You would be asked to include detailed descriptions of how you were passed up for a well-deserved promotion in your complaint. You may also add details on any coworker that may back you up.

  • Seek outside assistance

If an employer refuses to acknowledge the complaint, you can hire a workplace discrimination lawyer to help you. This can speed up the process of settling the issue and attaining the proper compensation from it.

  • Figure out your approach

When filing a complaint, remember to remain professional and avoid retaliating in a way that could worsen your situation. Instead, follow any procedure or process that your employer or company has established and be patient. 

  • Consider the possible causing factors

In some cases, discrimination can be unintentional and caused by a lack of communication, leading to misunderstandings. Observe your employer’s actions with other employees and raise your concerns with them.


Moving forward

Being passed up for a promotion at work can easily demotivate you and hinder the progress of your career growth. These situations can also be significantly stressful and cause you to harbor negative feelings towards your job and colleagues. When these feelings grow, confronting the problem becomes more difficult. 

Reach out to Shegerian & Associates today for California employment legal assistance on workplace discrimination and violations of employee rights.

Manuela Varela

Relations Manager

Manuela Varela has been with Shegerian & Associates since August 2022. She is responsible for outreach and marketing on behalf of the firm and manages relationships between firms and referring attorneys. She is also responsible for developing business opportunities and affiliations. Manuela graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Economics and Political Science.