Work is an integral part of life, and we do it during most of our lifetime. But if we face unfair and discriminatory treatment at the workplace, it not only ruins our career but affects our personal lives as well. If an individual is being treated less favourably than another individual based on certain personal characteristics or attributes, it is referred to as workplace discrimination. It is one of the most discussed topics when it comes to a workplace environment.
A person can face direct or indirect discrimination at work based on race, faith, colour, weight, sexual orientation, and national origin. Although employers try to prevent discrimination from happening at their workplace. Still, we see reported cases are growing in numbers. There is a lot employees can do to protect themselves and their jobs.
Let’s discuss the options employees can exercise to defend themselves against any kind of discrimination at their workplace.
Know the anti-discrimination laws
Fortunately, many anti-discrimination laws exist today. These laws protect employees in many ways: they can freely speak up; their privacy and confidentiality are not compromised; they are protected and not punished for reporting discrimination. Some of these include The Civil Rights Act, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and The Violence against Women Act.
Federal agency “Equal Employment Opportunity Commission” (EEOC) is placed to enforce anti-discriminatory laws. In addition, many state agencies are responsible for countering workplace discrimination at the local level.
Talk to your employer
Before exploring legal options, talk to your employer. There are chances your employer already has a harassment and discrimination policy in effect. Sometimes an issue can be settled with the person who is responsible for discriminatory behaviour through dialogue. Try to follow the guidelines outlined by your company. You can approach your manager and colleagues to discuss your issue. You can also share your concern and grievance with the human resource department of your company. Register your complaint in writing and keep a record.
Filing complaint with EEOC
If you are doubtful about the case’s proceedings and nothing seems to be working anymore, you may file a complaint against your employer with EEOC. You should inform your employer about your legal move. If you have decided to approach EEOC, make sure you thoroughly understand the rules and regulations. You may also consider hiring legal counsel to manage your legal affairs.
Have confidence in your abilities
Confidence is the key here! Discrimination is by no mean your fault. But if you are confident and have faith in your abilities, your colleagues will be more likely to treat you with respect at the workplace. It will also stop them from making weird assumptions about you.
Find Anti-Discrimination resources
Companies that care about the well-being of their employees offer many resources to combat workplace discrimination. Ask your employer what resources they have in place to protect you from discriminatory behaviours. Don’t let anyone discourage you. You can fight discrimination and be the best at your work!