All employees deserve to feel safe and comfortable in their chosen place of work. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Many employees eventually come to realize they are experiencing workplace discrimination, be it by their employer or by coworkers they work alongside every day.
When this unfortunate situation occurs, it can be hard to summon the desire to continue working. Luckily, there are steps you can take to take workplace discrimination by the horns. Here are three things to do if you feel like you’re being discriminated against at work.
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Learn About Employment Discrimination And Your Rights
When you start to feel that what’s happening to you at your place of work isn’t right, it’s time to start learning about your rights under federal and state employment law.
According to Eric A. Panitz of Wrongful Termination Law Group, “Employment discrimination is when you’re treated unfairly by your employer, based on your membership in a protected class, such as your race, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, age, or sexual orientation.” If you are being discriminated against for any of these reasons, know that there are federal and state laws in place to protect you and correct the injustice.
“For example,” Panitz adds, “some employers assume pregnancy and childcare are distractions from work, so they decide it’s cost effective to fire pregnant women. This is completely illegal, and grounds for a lawsuit for wrongful termination based on pregnancy discrimination.”
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars employers from discriminating against employees based on color, race, religion, or national origin, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) precludes employers from discriminating against employees who are 40 years and older. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) similarly protects employees with disabilities against employer discrimination, and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees.
If you believe you’ve been subjected to workplace discrimination, you have the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a state fair employment practices agency. You can also file a lawsuit in federal court, but you must first file a complaint with the EEOC or a state agency. It is usually best to file an EEOC complaint with the help of an experienced employment attorney.
You also have the right not to be retaliated against for reporting or opposing discriminatory practices in your workplace. Retaliation can include any adverse action taken against you for complaining about discrimination or taking part in an investigation into a discrimination claim.
By learning about your rights and communicating with your employer about your membership in a protected class, you may see some improvement in the discrimination you’ve noticed. When you speak up and take action, you can help to create a safe and inclusive workplace for all.
Keep A Record Of Discrimination In The Workplace
When something is said or done that you feel has violated your right to a discrimination-free workplace, it’s important that you keep a record of these violations. Even if the things you’re noticing might seem small, when you add everything up, it could demonstrate a pattern of discrimination against you or your coworkers.
Keeping a record of discrimination in the workplace is a good idea for several reasons. First, it can help you document the incidents and provide evidence in the event that you decide to file a complaint or take legal action. Second, it can help your employer identify patterns of discriminatory behavior and take steps to address it.
To keep a record of discrimination, you should document each instance of discrimination, including the date, time, location, and a detailed description of what happened. It’s also helpful to include any relevant witnesses, any evidence that was collected, and any attempts that were made to resolve the issue.
Keep the record in a secure place and don’t share it with anyone not involved in the complaint or legal action. If you decide to file a complaint or take legal action, they may be asked to provide the record as evidence.
Beyond maintaining a personal record, it may also be helpful to report incidents of discrimination to the appropriate person or department, like your HR representative or an equal employment opportunity (EEO) representative.
Get In Touch With An Attorney
If you feel like you’re in over your head with the discrimination you’re experiencing, or have been a victim of retaliation after bringing up your concerns at work, it’s time that you get in touch with an experienced employment attorney. Employment attorneys can use their expertise in this area of law to identify where laws have been broken or legal rights have been infringed upon. Once your attorney has this information, they can seek to help you move forward with how you want to address these issues that you’ve experienced.
If you feel like you’ve been discriminated against at work, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you know how to handle these situations.