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A workplace is ideally a place free of discrimination as it is a designated place for working and other work-related activities. Unfortunately, workplace discrimination can happen in any type of workplace and takes different forms. Discrimination in the workplace covers a broad spectrum that encompasses race, national origin, color, religion, sex, age, disability, and pregnancy, among the numerous classifications and situations. Thankfully, workplace discrimination is against the law, and if your employer was at fault, there are steps you can take to hold accountable those who are responsible for the discrimination you are experiencing.
Read on as we provide steps you need to take if you face workplace discrimination and uphold your rights.
Reach Out to an Employment Law Attorney
As mentioned earlier, workplace discrimination and harassment are illegal and are instances of non-compliance with existing federal laws. If you have solid and undeniable proof that you are being harassed or discriminated against at work, various employment lawyers would advise seeking legal assistance right away. Federal and state employment laws have different statutes of limitations, and an immediate legal consultation can help you decide on your next course of action within the prescribed period. Also, a legal consultation can help put your mind at ease that you can pursue legal actions if necessary, and it will also serve as a deterrent once you let the discriminating party know of your legal consultation.
Keep a Documentation or Record of the Discrimination
Evidence is key in your legal action against workplace discrimination. Keep or save emails showing correspondence that shows discrimination. Other written or documented instances of discrimination such as notes, performance reviews, workplace sanction letters and documents, and other documents indication any form of discrimination should also be kept as evidence. Video or audio recordings of harassment or discrimination can also be useful as pieces of evidence. Also, secure a copy of the employee handbook of your company or any written policy where your employer has acknowledged that it will comply with the law and not engage in any form of discrimination. It can also help your position in legal action.
Make a Record of the Discriminative Actions
Keep a record of the discriminatory incidents that happened at work. Include the dates, times, locations, and the names of the persons involved and witnesses of the incident. Include a description of what happened and use your notebook or journal and not your work computer.
It can help speed up the investigation regarding the discrimination complaint.
Make Your Employer Aware of the Discrimination
Many instances of discrimination and harassment go unpunished because the responsible party or the administration was not made aware that the conduct is unacceptable. You need to take the initiative in taking steps to protect your rights. Letting your employer know that you are taking the matter seriously may also prompt them to take action to help resolve the situation. Letting the offending party know that you are being discriminated against or harassed can open alternatives for solving the problem without resorting to legal action.
Speak With Lawyer Before Filing an Official Complaint
An official complaint should be your last resort if all efforts you have put into solving the matter internally do not work or do not reach a favorable solution. It may be that after you have had a discussion with your employer and requested a report and investigation on the matter, your position only got worse, or you experienced retaliation from the discriminating party. Speaking with an employment lawyer will help you decide on the next steps to take, as they guide you as to when and how to file an official complaint.
The workplace is supposed to be a place of work and peaceful interaction with co-workers and employers. Employers have the responsibility of complying with the law and upholding the rights of employees and harmony in the workplace. As an employee, you also have to make sure to safeguard your rights and defend yourself against discrimination. Working in a workplace that nurtures respect and harmony can make employees feel secure and motivated.