Woman Accidentally Finds Out She Was A 'Diversity Hire' At Her New Job – 'No One Took Me Seriously'

She thought she had legitimately earned her position.

woman sitting at a desk Arnel Hasanovic and Christina @ wocintechchat.com / Unsplash

When you work hard to develop your skills and abilities, it's only natural to want to find a position that aligns with your skillset. If you are fortunate enough to land the role of your dreams, you show up eager to work hard and do your best to bring value to the employer.

Unfortunately, one woman found out that she was not actually hired because of her qualifications, but for a disappointing reason.


The woman explained why she believed she was a 'diversity hire.'

In a post to the r/jobs subreddit, she shared the story of what happened when she was hired as an Assistant Manager at a popular retailer, noticing clear signs that she was not respected at work.

According to the new employee, she was talked over frequently, “disregarded and talked down to,” and just generally never taken seriously. In addition to all of that, her elevated management duties were given to other managers, and she was just used for backing them up when needed.

A huge turning point happened just six months into her tenure at the company. There was a sudden influx of complaints, and eventually, she was asked to go home and not return until she heard back from HR. That paid leave lasted for an entire month without word from her employer, so she decided to reach out to the organization’s corporate office for a status update.


“I eventually found out I was just their diversity hire as it slipped that they needed to hit numbers for more POC on the sales floor," she said of the troubling information she came across.

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During that time, the woman realized that going back to her job might be very uncomfortable, given the circumstances, so decided to give the company a two-week notice and collect her final paycheck. She decided to run the situation past a family member who had HR expertise and they advised that perhaps she had been hired to fill a quota for the number of people of color and only kept for six months so the hire appeared to be authentic and made in good faith.

When she expressed her concerns over how the short stint at the company would look to prospective employers, her relative told her to explain it by saying the job was just seasonal or temporary. She also advised the former employee to have a friend who was familiar with the retail environment be her work reference.


She took to Reddit to find out if the advice was something she should take and if it made sense when explaining the limited time that she had worked at the retail store.

Commenters had so many questions about what happened at the job that she had to update her post with more details.

People questioned her level of initiative, leading her to explain that she’d reached out to her management colleagues to ask questions, but could not get consistent answers. Though everyone seemed to do things in their own way, she said the company frowned upon her own autonomy. She was told initially that her performance was satisfactory and had no indication that she was not meeting standards.

In addition, she alleged that a lack of training and favoritism played a big part in her negative experience at work. She claimed that when she would direct her team, her guidance was overridden by who, when confronted, refused to take accountability for her actions and expected her to read between the lines. She noticed that the same manager would ignore the days off for other employees of color and schedule them anyway, expecting them to make themselves available, resulting in ‘no-shows’.

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People in the comments questioned her qualifications for the role, forcing her to justify her right to the position she was hired into.

Frustrated with the readers who kept questioning the validity of her claims and assuming she was a Black woman, the Redditor ended her post by saying, “Some of these comments are borderline racist in themselves. Btw, I'm not black. I'm Asian, a woman, and not some newbie in my early 20s.”

But most of the comments were supportive and many agreed with the advice she’d been given and some truly believed the comments were a result of her not being a “culture fit."

There are steps you can take if you find yourself in a similar position.

If you should find yourself in the same situation and believe that your hire or termination was race-based, have been treated disparately in the workplace, or have been abruptly put on leave for performance without any prior signs that you might not be doing the best job, reach out to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to make sure everything is on the up and up. If it isn’t, they can help you hold your employer accountable for any discriminatory practices.


Things that level the playing field and give persons of color the same opportunities as their white counterparts can be beneficial if used in good faith and properly applied. Contrary to popular (and racist) beliefs, most people want to be hired based on their merits and not be handed a position just to get a business’s minority numbers up so they appear diverse. Being hired strictly for your race is disrespectful, demeaning, and feeds into the negative stereotypes about certain groups of people.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer and author from Seattle, Washington. She covers issues navigating the workplace using the experience garnered over two decades of working in Human Resources and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.