Dealing with Workplace Discrimination: A Guide for Employees

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Discrimination in the workplace can be extremely stressful and damaging to an employee. It can impact their physical and emotional wellbeing, lead to reduced productivity, and ultimately result in lower job satisfaction and willingness to stay in the company. Employees should be equipped with the knowledge and skills to deal with workplace discrimination so that they can maintain their dignity and respect at work. This guide aims to provide essential information on dealing with discrimination in the workplace.

Understand workplace discrimination

Workplace discrimination can come in many forms, including age, gender, marital status, pregnancy, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Discrimination can be overt or subtle, and it can occur in recruitment, selection, promotion, pay, training, or any other aspect of employment. The first step in dealing with discrimination is to recognize it. Knowing your legal rights and documenting any form of discrimination is critical when taking further actions.

Talk to the HR Manager

When an employee suspects that they’re experiencing discrimination in the workplace, the first person to speak with is the human resources manager. HR managers are equipped with the knowledge and procedures to deal with such issues. Employees should be clear on the nature of the discrimination and how it violates their legal rights. HR professionals should investigate the matter, and a report should be made.

Keep records

It is vital to document any incidents of discrimination, including the date, time, location, and the name(s) of those involved. This information is essential when filing a complaint and to back up any claims concerning discrimination.

Know Your Legal Rights

Various laws protect employees against discrimination according to race, age, religion, national origin, sex, and disability. However, different states and territories have specific laws that apply to them, so it’s important to check your state’s employment laws or contact a legal professional for advice.

Report the incident to the correct authority

If the HR department does not take the appropriate action, or the employee does not feel comfortable talking to HR, they can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws, and employees can file a complaint against their employer either online or by mail. A complainant is required to file their formal complaint within 180 days after the latest discriminatory act.

Leverage on available resources

Many organizations have various employee networks, which provide support and networking opportunities. These networks can help individuals facing discrimination to meet other employees who have similar experiences. For example, an employee network supporting individuals with disability can offer advice on how to deal with accommodating needs.

In conclusion, tackling workplace discrimination can be stressful and demanding, but it is important for those facing the issue to take a stand for their rights. Understanding the different types of discrimination, taking action by working with HR, and utilizing resources available to them are some of the steps an employee can take to address workplace discrimination. Ultimately, it is essential that employees contact the correct authority if the proper measures are not taken. By doing so, they can protect themselves, improve their work environment and pave the way for other employees to experience a discrimination-free workplace.

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