Defending Decency
And Civil Rights In The Workplace

Lower performance reviews: a subtler form of workplace discrimination

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2022 | Discrimination & Retaliation

A company that refuses to hire qualified job applicants because of their race, gender, age or religious beliefs is violating federal and Maryland employment laws. But there are subtler ways that employers can discriminate illegally.

One such tactic is to systematically give lower performance review scores to members of a protected class — not because their work is of lesser quality, but because the employer wants to pay the protected class employees less.

Lower performance scores for minority Times employees

That is what the NewsGuild union is accusing The New York Times is doing to its employees of color. The union released data that alleges that Hispanic employees are 60 percent less likely to receive a high score on their performance review than their white peers. Black employees only received high scores half as often as white co-workers. The Times uses these scores to determine how large of an annual bonus each worker gets.

Besides costing the minority employees bonus money, the bias in performance reviews is demoralizing to the affected employees, according to NewsGuild. The union believes that consistently unfair reviews are driving employees of color to quit. Some of those who received mediocre reviews are award-winning reporters who continue to work in the news media.

Making up for the damage to your career

Practices that favor certain races or ethnic groups for raises, bonuses, promotions and other career opportunities are more than unfair. They are against the law. Workers who have experienced this form of employment discrimination have the right to seek compensation in court. A favorable verdict or settlement cannot change the past, but it can help undo the damage that your career suffered.