Discrimination may occur in any aspect of employment, not just during hiring and termination. Indeed, a certain decision that your employer might carry out on you, such as being demoted, not being promoted, being assigned to a lower level job, or being reduced of one’s salary or wages may have discriminatory intent. Also, discrimination may be on the basis of protected characteristics such as race, sex, disability, religion, national origin, color, age, and others mentioned under federal and California anti-discrimination laws.
If you believe you have been discriminated against in any aspect of your employment, it is important that you take action immediately. As such, here are the things to do when you are experiencing discrimination at work:
- Unlawful actions of discrimination and/or harassment are not made known to the employer because not all victims are firm in asserting their rights. If you feel you have been discriminated against, let your employer become aware of what happened to you. Tell your immediate superior about your situation. If he or she is the one discriminating against or harassing you, then you may file a discrimination and/or harassment complaint to your human resources director or someone with managerial duties in-charge of accepting such a complaint.
- Always remember that it is the responsibility of your employer to prevent, correct, and remedy the issue of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. As such, it is important that you let your employer know that your situation is something that should be taken seriously. Indeed, a written report must be written every time you file a complaint. Those who are in-charge of handling such issues must conduct investigations concerning your allegations. More importantly, imposing disciplinary actions on the perpetrators must be done to finally rectify the issue and finally put it to rest.
- Every incident of discrimination or harassment must be taken down in a journal. It should have as much details as possible: dates, estimate time, location, people involved, witnesses (if any), and the conduct displayed towards you by the offender/s. If there are e-mail conversations in relation to your situation, keep them in your email inbox. Any objects, letters, or hard copies of correspondences that are discriminatory or harassing must be kept.
- If your company has anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies in place, review them right away. You can use it to your advantage once your company steered away from what the policies’ provisions.
- If your employer did not respond to your internal complaints, you must file a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). If you let the federal or state government involved, your issue may be quickly resolved. Otherwise, you need to exercise your legal options by retaining the services of a Los Angeles employment lawyer. Upon the receipt of your right-to-sue notice, you can now file a private lawsuit against your employer with the help of your chosen legal counsel.
Being treated differently at work, especially if such an action is based on your personal characteristic, is definitely an uneasy feeling. However, you must know that such a situation should not be left ignored. Responding on the issue by exercising the abovementioned actions is imperative as an assertion of your rights as an employee.