In a perfect world, people wouldn’t have to worry about facing discrimination at work because of their race, gender, or age. But of course, the world is far from perfect. As a result, employment discrimination continues to be a big problem in this country.
One report found that about 60% of people have either experienced workplace discrimination themselves or seen someone else be the victim of discrimination at work. And while many companies have put policies in place in an effort to curb workplace harassment, it’s clear that it’s not going away anytime soon.
If you ever face workplace discrimination, you might not know exactly what you should do or who you should tell about it. We’re going to break down the steps you should take when discrimination at work turns into an issue for you.
Here is what to do if you’re a victim of discrimination at work.
Start by Looking at Your Employer’s Anti-Discrimination Policy
As we just mentioned, discrimination at work has transformed into such a big problem these days. Because of this, just about all companies have put anti-discrimination policies into place.
These policies break down what a company considers employment discrimination. They also break down what employees should do if they face discrimination at work.
It’s important for you to read your employer’s anti-discrimination policy from top to bottom so that you understand it in full. It should give you a much better idea as to what you should do when you feel as though you’re the victim of workplace discrimination.
Document the Discrimination You’ve Faced at Work as Best You Can
There are some instances in which documenting workplace discrimination will be easy. If, for example, someone leaves discriminating notes in your work locker, you’ll have physical evidence that you’re being discriminated against.
But there are other instances in which you’re not going to have physical evidence that discrimination at work has occurred. If one of your coworkers says something discriminatory to you, you might not have any actual evidence of the discrimination taking place. The only thing you’ll be able to do is to explain what happened.
Either way, you should do your best to document any discrimination at work that you face. You can do this by:
- Writing down a description of the discrimination
- Making a note of the date and time when the discrimination took place
- Creating a list of any witnesses who may have seen or heard the discrimination that you experienced
- Recalling how the discrimination made you feel
- Writing down additional incidents involving discrimination as you move forward
Having these kinds of details handy will work wonders for you if you decide to file a workplace discrimination complaint. You’ll be able to fill your employer in on exactly how someone at your workplace discriminated against you in full.
File an Official Workplace Discrimination Complaint With Your Employer
If you’ve been the victim of discrimination at work, this is definitely something that you should bring up to your employer. You should use your employee handbook to find out who you can direct a workplace discrimination complaint to—and then do it!
Ideally, you should speak with someone from your company’s human resources department when you want to file a complaint related to discrimination at work. They’ll be able to tell you how to do it. It’s their job to take your complaint seriously and to investigate it in full.
Your workplace discrimination complaint should clearly outline the discrimination you’ve encountered. It’ll make it possible for your employer to look into the workplace harassment that is allegedly occurring and do something about it.
Follow Up on Your Complaint to Make Sure Something Is Done About It
After you’ve filed an official harassment complaint regarding discrimination that you’ve faced at work, you should give your employer some space to investigate it. But at the same time, you shouldn’t be shy about following up on your complaint to be sure that something is being done about it.
Sadly, there are some companies that won’t do nearly enough to combat discrimination at work. This is especially true when that discrimination is coming from upper management. It’s why you’ll need to make it a point to push them to do something about your complaint.
It’s unfortunate that this is the way that some companies work. But you might have to serve as your own advocate to motivate your employer to dig into your discrimination complaint. You shouldn’t be afraid to follow up with the person that you filed your complaint with via email early and often.
Get a Lawyer Involved If You’re Not Happy With the Way Your Employer Handles Your Complaint
There is a chance that your employer might look into your workplace discrimination complaint and choose to do nothing about it. At that point, you might want to reconsider your work situation and potentially move to a new company.
But you might also want to choose to stay and fight for your right to be heard. You’re more than welcome to obtain the services of a lawyer any time you face discrimination at work and nothing is done about it.
The simple act of lawyering up might push your employer to take your initial complaint more seriously. It might also result in you getting your hands on money that might be owed to you due to the workplace harassment that you faced.
A lawyer can run through your various options for you if you choose to bring one on board. They can also discuss discrimination as a whole with you and tell you what rights that you have.
Read more on discrimination to find out other ways in which it’s taking a toll on society in a negative way.
You Shouldn’t Have to Live With Discrimination at Work
No one should have to wake up in the morning and worry about facing discrimination at work. People should be free to do their jobs in peace when they show up for work each day.
If discrimination at work is making your work life a living hell, you should do something about it ASAP. Take the steps that we’ve laid out here to ensure that something gets done about the workplace discrimination that you’ve been facing.
Want more advice on dealing with discrimination at work? Get it by browsing through the other articles on our blog.