Discrimination happens anywhere to almost anyone. Whether it’s through gender, skin color, race, culture, and marital status — it is an ongoing battle one faces, especially at work. According to data, 3 out of 5 employees in the United States have experienced direct and indirect discrimination in their workplaces.
This is despite the ongoing campaign on cultural diversity and inclusion in our society. Thus, companies need to start reevaluating their protocols, policy procedures, and protection against these mistreatments. For example, Harvard Business Review suggests that companies should delegate tasks and workloads fairly and effectively.
This technique can foster a healthy work environment resulting in lesser stress among employees. At the same time, distributing the workload will help the company generate more revenue and results in better productivity.
Unfortunately, things do get out of hand sometimes. What happens then?
Know your rights
Discrimination sees no status nor gender. It comes in different forms from different aspects of life, and sadly, some are too subtle to even notice. That said, it is essential to know when your boundaries are crossed and when things go south.
For one, you must be aware of your rights and review existing federal and state laws regarding discrimination at work. In addition, if your company implements rules against bullying, physical or verbal abuse, threats, and other forms of inappropriate behaviors, do yourself a favor and go over it as well.
According to one study, racial discrimination, sexual harassment, and age discrimination are the most common injustices people experience in the workplace. Encountering discriminatory practices is already difficult as it is in any given situation. However, experiencing it every day at work puts significant stress on one’s mental health. Therefore, immediate actions need to be taken.
Whether it’s through written, video clips, pictures, screenshots, or gathering witnesses, it is crucial to collect pieces of evidence to prove the incident and support your claim. For example, suppose an employer force you to take an indefinite leave from your position or rejects you for a job promotion because you have a mental health condition. In that case, you must take note of the conversation and jot down all necessary details of what transpired.
Gather essential documentation and remember to record the time, place, date, and note any inappropriate actions or remarks. These details will help support the complaints later on and aid authorities in assessing appropriate measures that need to be done. Moreover, this information may encourage other victims to come forward and help your HR track the patterns essential to mitigate the problem and prevent it from happening in the future.
File a complaint
Some individuals believe that escalating their issue is a waste of time. Because the nature of these instances may require one’s presence and undivided attention, it may be easier for others to just shake it off. After all, this may just be one time, right? Wrong.
Tolerating any abuse is a dangerous pursuit anyone may fall into. If you continue forgiving your abuser and justifying what they did, thinking it’s for the greater good, you’ll end up losing respect for yourself and giving them the power to step on you. They may even see it as a sign that you’re okay with it, and thus, the harassment and unnecessary remarks will go on and on.
The sad truth is, ignoring it will allow them to do the same to others. This will go on for years until someone takes a stand. Let that abuse end with you. By filing a complaint, you are giving yourself and others a favor by seeking the justice you all deserve.
Inform your employer about how you feel about the incident. This is a serious matter, so make sure you communicate your intentions well. Remember that while your company must comply with the law, your responsibility is to ensure that your freedom and rights are respected and valued.
Demand an investigation and ensure that they do disciplinary actions. Should you agree with a settlement or have issues with the negotiation, ensure that you find a reputable agency with exceptional knowledge on employment law mediation and experience in handling such cases. Moreover, it would help to have a legal aid explain each step and document before signing any.
Everyone deserves equal opportunity and fair treatment, especially in the field they want to pursue. But, unfortunately, there are stumbling blocks that come our way, and harassment is one of them. More than acknowledging the issue, employers need to take this seriously.
This means having programs and seminars that help curb the growing number of abuse at work and actually putting them into action. Getting rid of the toxic culture that is discrimination will foster employee growth and yield better profits.