How Do I Overcome A Blacklist or File Discrimination?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about not being promoted and feeling of discrimination.

I work for the federal government and took a change to lower grade to work in another section to build on my skills. I was told that it was a training position and we would learn this job to prepare us for advancement. Five years later I am still in same spot. I have trained others who were selected in same field of work who were then promoted over me. I spoke with my bosses, I have had several and have to prove my worth each time, but they select others to train and work towards promotion.

Their excuse is I am not consistent; however, no one is consistent. I’ve been to my supervisor’s office and expressed my grief. I also testified in an EEO complaint, and believe this is why I am not being selected. It’s so much to write I can’t explain it all. I decided to write the director an email on what has been taking place, how I feel discriminated against. It’s been 3 months with no response, but supervisors have been paper trailing me for everything. I even reached out to supervisor to ask for help in getting me promoted. My supervisor wants me to master my job, while others haven’t and are promoted up within 2 to 3 months in the section. Their work is not consistent. I know because I reviewed some and their work required correction but they were promoted.

I believe my bosses didn’t like the idea of a black female, challenging their decision and expressing how this agency works. I feel discriminated against but can’t find a basis to file. I’ve been passed over 10 times despite the fact that I have been trained; my work was reviewed and released. I have been repeatedly been by-passes and others have been promoted to our floor to learn how to do the job I already know. To discovered the new hires don’t do well, but get to move up in promotion. I could go on but it’s too emotional, humiliating, and, yes, more errors occur when you are under stress.

Signed They Expect Perfection

Dear They Expect Perfection:

You have a right to feel distressed if you see others receive promotion and you not for what you have trained for. I hope my thoughts about your disappointment at not being promoted might help you achieve that. Up front, I think you know that NOT being promoted in itself is not cause for discrimination. You have sought for reasons why you are bypassed, especially after shifting to work that is supposed to train you for promotion.

Consequently after repeated change of supervisors and registering complains about not being promoted, and since you are a black female, you feel discriminated against. You say you have made a complaint to EEO, but received no response. Since that you have found “supervisors have been paper trailing me for everything.” So you have written, to ask how do you to overcome being blacklisted. Here are some thoughts for your consideration. There is no quick fix, but they might enable you to cope better with the stress of feeling you must be perfect and that because you are ethnically different and female that others are promoted and you not.
1. From here, it appears you have good reason to feel that you have earned promotion.
2. You have confronted your supervisor(s) about being bypassed by others and asked one of them to help.
3. You have gone to a proper channel, the EEO, to register a complaint that you feel you have not been promoted and think that is discrimination since others have achieved that with no better performance or training than you. You say that “It’s so much to write I can’t explain it all. I decided to write the director an email on what has been taking place, how I feel discriminated against.” (You will notice I edited your question by correcting slight errors in grammar. I have done my best to not change your meaning. I mention this to suggest that possibly, if correct grammar is required in your job, errors in grammar could be a mark against your competence. It probably isn’t because in many government jobs, forms and procedures are detailed, rather than a matter of one’s composition skills; however, seeking someone to help you edit, might be of help if you submit more above.)
4. Although you feel discouraged and dislike having to explain what’s going on, I suggest before you take complaints further, that to the best of your ability recall and log instances of who and when certain individuals have been promoted and you were bypassed with as much and/or even more training and no less errors.
5. Also I think it might be wise to succinctly compile evaluations you have and state what your supervisors have done to help or not help you be more consistent.
6. Now it is important for you not to attribute to not being promoted to being black and female unless you have evidence of that, such as remarks of a racial or sexual nature about the way you talk or look. However, since you are a black woman and not promoted, it is reasonable to feel discrimination when others are. Therefore, after making your log of being bypassed and not receiving a response from EEO, you would be wise to request another meeting and a report of its investigation.
7. On the outside, you might find it helpful to consult an attorney with EEO federal government experience. Usually consultation with one to learn if you have a case should not cost you. And before you retain one, be careful to have fees spelled out. Generally, it is not a good idea to tell EEO or your superiors you have an attorney until you have pursued all options within. But sometimes, retaining an attorney can help your agency to weigh its actions more fairly and usually one can resolve your complaints without going to court.
8. The best path to pursue now is to quietly contact EEO and to restate your concerns. Get a report of what they have done and are doing. For example, one EEO solution is to separate an individual who feels discriminated from individuals and/or work environment to another location. Also you might request EEO’s advice about how to work constructively with your superiors.

Does any of this make sense? Take care not to gossip about your situation or to badmouth others while seeking promotion, now or any time. Focus on doing good work and pleasing your internal and external customers. Cultivate a grateful attitude—being a happy coworker and subordinate. Don’t complain within or at home about being held back or being a victim of discrimination. Rather if you need moral support seek the counsel a trusted friend or clergy. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Please visit other Q&As on our site, especially read those by my associate Tina Lewis Rowe; her advice can’t be bettered anywhere.
William Gorden