General

What to Do if You’re a Victim of Discrimination in the Workplace

While you may think it’s a thing of the past, discrimination is still alive and well in modern society. In fact, complaints of discrimination in the workplace have increased significantly in the last few years.

A poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University reported that 28% of participants had seen or heard something offensive to minority groups in the workplace – even though discrimination is against the law.

There are federal laws in place that prohibit discrimination against employees based on national origin, gender, religion, disability, age, race, sexual orientation, and pregnancy. It is your employer’s responsibility to provide all employees with a non-discriminatory work environment.

For example, if you are disabled, experience ableism in the workplace, and your employer refuses to accommodate you, you are within your rights to make a complaint with The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If your employer refuses to take corrective action, you should take the matter further by consulting disability lawyers Phoenix.

If you experience discrimination in the workplace, here’s what you should do to protect your rights.

Familiarize Yourself with Company Policy

If your company has an anti-discrimination policy (most companies do), you should familiarize yourself with it. The policy should detail what types of discrimination are prohibited.

The company anti-discrimination policy will list the “protected” classes – such as gender, race, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy, religion, disability, and others. The policy will also provide a guide on how to report discrimination.

Record Your Concerns in Writing

If you are a victim of discrimination in the workplace, it is vital to record your complaint and document the incident (or incidences) in writing. The best way to document your complaint is in a format that will allow you to keep a copy – such as an email.

After you have made your complaint, you should be protected from retaliation – most company policies will have a clause prohibiting retaliatory action against anyone who files a complaint.

Make a Detailed and Specific Complaint

If you have experienced discrimination due to one of your personal characteristics – such as your gender – it’s essential to specify the type of discrimination in your complaint.

The wording of your complaint is very important because your employer may not investigate it as a gender discrimination complaint unless you specify it.

Demand Corrective Action from Your Employer

Many victims of discrimination make a complaint but, for whatever reason, don’t want their employer to do anything about it. If you don’t demand corrective action from your employer, they may not take the matter any further.

When you make a complaint, make it clear that you want something to be done about it. Usually, company anti-discrimination policies place the onus of conducting an investigation and taking remedial action on the employer.

Consult a Lawyer

If you think you have experienced discrimination in the workplace, you should consult a lawyer. An experienced lawyer will be able to determine if the discrimination violated any laws, and they will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace is more common than you may think. To put a stop to it, you need to protect yourself.

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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