Harassment and discrimination are two of the most commonly reported workplace offenses, and can take a number of different forms. There are a range of federal laws which prohibit harassment and discrimination against individuals on the basis of their race, religion, age or physical ability. However, just like any charge, this kind of crime can’t be punished without someone taking action. If you feel you’re being discriminated against at work, here’s some advice on what to do…
Talk to your Employer
When you feel you’re the victim of discrimination, one of the first things you need to do is make your employer aware of it. A lot of incidences of discrimination and harassment go unpunished, simply because the victim and their co-workers want to keep their head down, and fail to tell anyone that some conduct is unwelcome or unacceptable. It’s not exactly common for the higher-ups at an organization to readily acknowledge discrimination in their workplace, and draft legal documents which have the potential to damage the company’s reputation. Your boss has a responsibility to comply with the law, and you have a responsibility to protect your rights. You don’t need to go running to your employer straight away, but if you’ve tried to solve the issue yourself and it hasn’t worked, you need to talk to your boss.
Tell Them You Mean Business
Unfortunately, a lot of discrimination complaints get swiftly brushed off by the higher-ups at an organization. You need to make sure your employer is aware that you’re taking the matter seriously, and won’t hesitate to take legal action if it’s necessary. Ask that a written report be drafted every time you report an incidence of discrimination or harassment. Ask, directly, that an investigation is made following the allegations, and that any perpetrators are given disciplinary action. Your employers are required, by law, to give prompt and full consideration to any reports of discrimination or harassment. It may be worth brushing up on this part of the law if you’re afraid your boss will try to wave your problems away.
Like any charge, your discrimination case won’t go ahead unless there’s significant evidence to back it up. Start by keeping a diary of incidents, the person responsible, and any co-workers who witnessed them. Of course, a lot of workplace discrimination is purely verbal, so you may need to record incidents in a covert way. There are voice recorders for this available at SpyCentre. You should also hold onto any objects that are sent to you, left out for you, or given to you directly that you believe are discriminatory in nature. For example, there have been cases of African-American employees coming to their desk each day and finding a picture of a burning cross taped to their chair. Holding onto these things can feel upsetting and reprehensible, but try to resist the urge to destroy them or throw them away. Depending on how far your case goes, this kind of evidence can mean all the difference to your case.