Discrimination can take numerous forms in the workplace. If you are receiving unfair treatment based on being a member of a group, then it’s likely you are a victim of workplace discrimination. You may be discriminated for a number of things, including your age, race, religion, sex, and more. Here, we’ll discuss what you should do if you feel this is happening to you.
Keep A Record
Start by keeping a record of the encounters you believe to be discriminatory. Write down the days and times, and what exactly took place. Try to stick to cold hard facts rather than including feelings or thoughts. The encounters will speak for themselves. Include the following:
- Approximate time
- Parties involved
- Details of the improper conduct or speech
It’s also a good idea to keep any objects or pictures which were posted, left for you, or given to you in the workplace that you believe were discriminatory or harassing.
Make Your Employer Aware Of What is Going On
You are responsible for making sure your personal rights are protected, while your employer is responsible for making sure you are treated properly in the workplace. They cannot make sure you are being treated properly if they don’t know that you are being discriminated against.
Approaching your employer can be tough, but you must give them a chance to rectify what is going on. Let them know that you are taking the matter very seriously, and ask that a written report be made every time you report an incident. Ask that an investigation be made into your allegations and that disciplinary or corrective action against the offenders be taken.
When you approach your employer, you could ask them employer to:
- apologise to you
- make the discrimination stop
- compensate you with money for the impact it’s had, e.g. on your mental state
- Change their policies or raise awareness of a discrimination issue
- review their decision if it was not satisfactory for the first time
- Give you a reference if you’ve left your job because of discrimination
If you don’t complain immediately, you might need to explain why to your employer. For example, because you were scared to do so.
What To Do If Your Employer Doesn’t Respond
If your employer doesn’t respond, then you will need to contact the EEOC. They have a responsibility for overseeing compliance for many federal anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws, or your state equal employment agency. This will no doubt get your employers attention.
Review The Anti Discrimination Policy
Your employer should have put the fact in writing that they won’t act in discriminatory ways. This will benefit your position if you can retain a copy of it.
Get Legal Help to Deal with Discrimination at Work
Getting in touch with a legal body who can help you with discrimination is a must. They may determine that something else is actually going on, and inform you of the Defense Base Act or something else that relates to your case. Whatever is going on, if you know that you aren't being treated properly, getting legal help sooner rather than later is imperative. Do remember though, that it’s always best to approach your employer first to see how they handle the situation.
You may end up going to an employment tribunal. A tribunal can only get a handful of outcomes for you if this is the case. For example:
- They can make your employer pay you compensation
- They can recommend your employer does something, like change a policy or give you a reference. It’s worth noting that they cannot force your employer to do this.
- They can make a statement saying your employer has discriminated against you.
- You can still negotiate with your employer if you go to a tribunal, and this could be the best way to get the outcome you want.
If you’re a victim of workplace discrimination, the best thing you can do is act fast. Begin writing down every incident, and approach your boss as soon as you can. Make sure you know how you want them to deal with the issue, and that you’re willing to do what it takes to help them, e.g., keep a record and go through mediation. If your boss doesn't respond or doesn’t appear to want to do anything about it, then you will need to go the legal route.
Discrimination can cause a lot of stress and difficulty, so don't put up with it. Take the outlined steps above.