All workers are entitled to feel accepted and comfortable in the workplace. Unfortunately, employees are discriminated against daily across the United States. Whether you feel you're being discriminated against due to your ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, or gender, it's important that you take the necessary steps to protect your rights and best interests. Specifically, there are a few steps you'll want to take if you're facing discrimination on-the-job.
Report the Incident to Human Resources
Start by bringing the matter to the attention of your job's Human Resources department or equivalent. This way, you can get a written record that you brought the perceived discrimination to the proper authorities. It can sometimes be intimidating to report incidents to HR, especially if you're being discriminated against by another superior (such as a manager or boss). Still, it needs to be done.
Document Everything As Much As Possible
You'll want to keep detailed records of any discrimination you face whenever possible. In addition to obtaining a copy of your formal complaint to Human Resources, keep notes of comments made by the aggressor, along with the date and approximate time and location. If you receive a discriminatory e-mail or written message, be sure to save it or take a picture of it. This can serve as valuable evidence down the road.
Research Discrimination Laws in Your Area
State laws can vary when it comes to discrimination, but keep in mind that the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides certain protections against discrimination in the workplace based on color, race, sex, religion, and nationality. In addition to researching state laws, you may also want to check your employer's handbook (if applicable) to see if there is an anti-discrimination policy in place.
Speak to a Civil Rights Attorney
If you don't feel as though the situation is being resolved properly, you should speak to an experienced civil rights attorney in your area. He or she will be able to give you legal advice and help you decide which steps need to be taken next, such as filing a civil rights lawsuit against your employer.
Facing discrimination in the workplace can be an awful experience and is something nobody should have to go through. By understanding what steps to take next, however, you can make sure you act in your own best interests in the event that you are discriminated against while on the job.