There are as many kinds of discrimination and harassment in the workplace as there are laws put in place to protect against it. Federal, state, and local law agencies have all put in place laws that protect the employee from unnecessary discrimination and harassment. Despite all of that, many employees can feel overwhelmed when discrimination starts happening to them. What can you do if you face workplace discrimination?
Make your harasser aware of your feelings towards his/her behavior. If the person discriminating against you is a direct supervisor, go above his/her head to make your complaint. Many companies have specific departments or avenues in which you can make your feelings aware.
Let your employer know that you are taking the matter seriously. Ensure that each complaint is met with a proper investigation and a written report. Make multiple written reports and complaints as necessary. Follow through with all investigations and reports and make sure they know you expect prompt action.
Consider contacting an outside organization. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission is a good place to start for resources. Telling a third party about your ongoing discrimination or harassment is a good step to getting the situation the attention it deserves.
Keep a diary to log all instances of discrimination or harassment. For each complaint, make an entry as quickly as possible after the incident. Record everything you can remember about it, including location, date, time, and any witnesses who may have seen or heard something.
Keep notes, photos, or objects that were given, sent, or left for you that are part of the incidents. For example, if any offensive images or messages are left at your desk or on a public bulletin board, take them down but resist the urge to crumple them up or throw them away. Keeping these with your journal may provide important evidence later on.
Review your employer’s handbook or policy book. Look for mentions of their discrimination and harassment policy, making sure to note the wording and procedures outlined within.
Many cases may be minor or a single incident, but ongoing and difficult to handle discrimination needs to be dealt with, and you don’t have to deal with it alone.