Guest Contributor

Workplace Discrimination: What You Can Do

By | Sierra Powell

Discrimination can happen in just about any workplace and over 60% of American workers have experienced discrimination. Discrimination can occur in several ways such as disability, skin color, gender identity, injury, and more. Millions of discrimination complaints have been filed by employees to the government however there are several steps you can take if you’re experiencing discrimination in the workplace.

Document Everything

If you’re an employee experiencing discrimination, it’s important to try and document everything that occurs to include the date, time, place, and person you have experienced the discrimination from as well as any witnesses. If you receive any emails or written reports that have documentation of discrimination on them, save them and make copies. It’s a good idea to keep some of the records at home in the event you’re terminated and work records get destroyed.

Keep Up With Your Work

Being discriminated against can cause someone to shut down and fall behind on their work due to the constant worry of discrimination. It’s important to keep up with your work and do a good job to keep those positive job evaluations coming in the event you are wrongfully terminated or face retaliation. The evaluation will show there was nothing wrong with your work to cause discrimination or retaliation. As an employee, it’s not ideal to quit your job, and leaving the job voluntarily raises the bar for the discrimination case dramatically. Carefully examining your next course of action is extremely important. Always remain calm when interacting with co-workers or supervisors as yelling or even raising your voice to them can be a sign of aggression, refusing to do your job, and can give your employer a legitimate excuse to terminate you.

File a Complaint With Employer

Filing a complaint with your employer will send the complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the laws that make it illegal to discriminate against an employee. If you feel you have been discriminated against, filing a complaint with your employer once you have your evidence will help establish if you have been discriminated against. Some job discrimination they investigate is pregnancy discrimination, sexual orientation, discrimination based on color, religion, sex, race, and age. The organization helps take action to stop the discrimination by making changes to the workplace policies and procedures or even sue the employer in court. They also help to prevent discrimination before it occurs by giving presentations to employers and employees about enforcing the laws. There are certain documents available to employers on laws and rules protecting employees, employers, and applicants.

After a finding of discrimination has been issued by the EEOC, you may be entitled to be reinstated to your job, reassigned, hired, or promoted within the company. Employees who have been discriminated against may also receive the pay they missed as a result of missing work such as front pay, a pay raise, back pay, or even a combination of these. The company that did the discrimination could potentially get in trouble such as debarred or removed from future federal contracts.

Hire An Attorney

Hiring an L&I attorney can help you know more about the workplace discrimination process. L & I attorneys also known as labor and industry attorneys know the rules and laws associated with what can and can’t be done in a workplace. If you have been injured on the job and experienced discrimination or termination as a result of your injury, contacting an attorney can help you fight for the pay and job you need. L & I attorneys can help get benefits such as medical care, recover from lost time and wage replacement, get a lifetime pension, and even property reimbursement. It’s important not to let the employer who discriminated against you get away with such actions and contacting the attorney will guide you through the steps to be successful in recouping what you have lost.

Discrimination in the workplace can make you feel down, depressed and anxious about showing up each day or if you have been discriminated against during an interview, it may make you think poorly about your approach to a job. Get help through an attorney if you have experienced discrimination in the workplace.

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