Have you felt or witnessed discrimination? No one should feel like they’re being discriminated against in the workplace. In fact, most organizations frown against it. Yet, there are instances of discrimination in many offices every day.
Granted that it’s mostly passive-aggressive, but it’s still there. And people who understand the nuances can easily pick up on these cues even when the perpetrators are being subtle. In the past, most targets of sexual or racial discrimination felt powerless and unable to do anything about the often brazen attempts by workplace bullies.
Thankfully, with new legislation, all victims of discrimination can actually do something about the situation, and hopefully, stop the acts altogether. If you feel you’re being discriminated against, you can take the following steps:
Gather Some Concrete Evidence
The first thing you need to understand is that discrimination is against the law. Therefore, anyone targeting you is already breaking the law.
You just need to be able to prove that they’re doing just that. Hunches, feelings, and thoughts don’t count, so don’t get emotional.
You need hardcore evidence showing that they’re actually harassing you. So start recording phone calls or your interactions with the said persons, check emails and text messages for evidence of discrimination.
Start Building Your Case
Always make sure to write down dates when the incident occurred, the time, and where it happened. Also, take note of possible witnesses if there are any and include their details. Sometimes, witnesses can make or break your case. So always take note of them.
Report the Incident to Relevant Authorities
Speak up about this issue. Talk to or report the incident to the management, the police, or anyone in a position of authority that you feel might be able to actually do something about the continued harassment that you’re facing.
Most organizations take accusations of harassment and discrimination seriously and tend to investigate the report quickly. The reality is sometimes, these discriminatory acts aren’t intentional.
So talking to management might start a process that helps change the culture of unconscious discrimination against you or other people in the same position.
Start the Process of Filing a Claim
If reporting the incident doesn’t yield any positive change, it’s time to file a claim against the erring organization or person seeking damages. Discriminatory acts can be traumatizing, which is why you need to be compensated.
Talk to a lawyer about the possibility of bringing a case. Depending on the kind of worker, you may either be able to file your claims with the courts first or with the administrative entity first.
For example, if you were harassed by a federal worker like a police officer because of your LGBTQ+ status, you’ll need to fill a Standard Form 95. This will initiate the process of a federal tort claim with the police force mentioning the errant officer and detailing their actions against you.
Watch Out for Retaliatory Acts
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), many organizations –or individuals who work with the federal government– tend to retaliate against individuals who reported and filed harassment claims.
If this happens, be sure to take note of it and add it to your evidence. You’ll need that to sue for even more punitive or compensatory damages against the entity.