Discrimination and harassment in the workplace can take on a number of different forms. There are several federal laws that prevent discrimination and harassment of employees based on several factors including race, national origin, color, religion, sex, gender, disability, and pregnancy along with others. But sadly, this does not often stop employees from experiencing discrimination at work. If you feel that your employer or co-workers are discriminating against you in work, what steps can you take?
Inform Your Employer
The first thing to do is inform your employer that you feel you are experiencing harassment or discrimination at work. Sadly, many acts of discrimination and harassment continue to go unpunished or unrecognized because they are shrouded in secrecy. Employers are quite rare to admit to harassment or discrimination, so it’s important to advocate for yourself if the discrimination is coming directly from your employer. Remember that while your employer is responsible for following the law, it’s your personal responsibility to ensure that your rights are protected.
Contact the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
If you do not receive a response from your employer, you should consider contacting the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This organization is responsible for overseeing compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws. Your state employment agency may also be able to help. Getting either of these organizations involved in your case is likely to get the attention of your employer quickly.
Get Legal Advice
If you plan to take your employer to court for the discrimination and harassment, or simply want to talk through your options and get advice on the best next steps to take, it’s a good idea to find a lawyer who specializes in employment (like Lotas Legal of Minneapolis). Getting in touch with an employment lawyer can help you ensure that you have the support that you need as you navigate your case and help you get the best outcome.
Keep a Diary
A diary of incidents of discrimination or harassment at work could end up becoming evidence in any legal case against your employer, so it’s worth noting down everything that happens. Record the date and approximate time of the incident and the parties involved, along with any witnesses, along with details of the discriminatory conduct or speed. If appliable, keep any objects or take screenshots of anything that has been posted on social media to discriminate against you.
Review Policies and Laws
All employers are required to have an anti-discrimination policy, so it’s worth taking the time to review it if possible. Your employer may have put this policy in writing, which can benefit your position by proving that your employer has said that they will not act in anti-discriminatory ways. It’s also worth reviewing the federal and state laws that apply to your case to see what your rights are. You can find copies of these laws at law libraries and online.
Discrimination is not meant to happen at work in 2021, but sadly, many employees are still discriminated against and harassed. If you believe that this is happening to you, the above steps will be necessary for making a case against your employer.