Workplace discrimination occurs when an employee receives discriminatory treatment involving unfair hiring, termination, job assignments and various forms of harassment. It is your right to be protected from discrimination at work, and here are some tips to follow should you be a victim of workplace discrimination.
- Know Company Policies. Employers have an obligation to protect their employees from discrimination at work. Refer to your employee manual on how the company treats workplace discrimination and how to report it. Follow all procedures the company has established. Some companies prefer any incidents of workplace discrimination be reported to human resources, while others might want you to report the incident to your supervisor.
- Voice Your Concerns. If you feel you have been discriminated at work, notify your supervisor immediately. Make a note of your concerns and the outcome of the meeting with your supervisor. Let your supervisor know you are taking the matter seriously, and do not be afraid to ask for an investigation.
- Keep Records. Any incidents of discrimination at work should be kept in a journal. Always record the date, time, witnesses, and all parties involved. Also keep a record of how the incident began, where it happened, and details of the incident. This will serve as a timeline. Forms of workplace discrimination can also be nonverbal. For example, if you are black and there is a picture of a burning cross on or around your work area you would want to keep that as proof of workplace discrimination.
- Maintain Your Composure. Remaining professional is critical when dealing with discrimination at work. Do not respond to the instigators of the discrimination, and report all incidents as they happen. Keep all conversations between you and supervisors, human resources and anyone else confidential. Do not gossip to others about the discrimination you are being subjected to or show the notes you have kept. Allow the company the opportunity to rectify the situation, and only follow up when it is necessary.
If you have followed the steps above and are still experiencing discrimination at work, there are other options. Research the steps needed to file a complaint with your state's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and DOL (Department of Labor). Discrimination at work is illegal, and it is within your right to consult with an attorney who specializes in Employment Law. The attorney will be able to advise you of your rights, and can represent you in litigation that may arise from workplace discrimination.