To better understand how ethnicity is actually experienced within organizations, we examined reported increases in ethnic identity salience at work and responses to such increases. Thirty British black Caribbean graduate employees were interviewed about how and when they experienced their ethnic identity at work. The findings demonstrated that increased salience in ethnic identity was experienced in two key ways: through ‘ethnic assignation’ (a ‘push’ towards ethnic identity) and ‘ethnic identification’ (a ‘pull’ towards ethnic identity). We explore how and when ethnic assignation and ethnic identification occur at work, and their relevance to how workplaces are experienced by this group of minority ethnic employees. The findings suggest the need for further research attention to the dynamic and episodic nature of social identity – including ethnic identity – within organizations, and to the impact of such increases in salience of social identities on behaviour at work.