When Jennifer Chang, a program coordinator at a nonprofit youth mentoring organization, sat down for her annual performance evaluation last month, she asked for a raise. Having been on the job for two years and friendly with her supervisor, Chang expected an open discussion.

Instead, her supervisor replied, “People have goals when they come into a position, and if after a certain period of time they haven’t reached them, they should look elsewhere,” recalls Chang, which she heard as “If you...

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