Work can be stressful enough without facing discriminatory treatment. Dealing with discrimination at work can thus be nearly unbearable. However, it is a federal crime to treat anyone differently at work on the basis of race, gender, age, disability, or religion. If you do face discrimination due to these features, you are therefore well within your rights to take action against your employer. This can naturally be intimidating, but when the only other option is allowing the discrimination to continue, it is important to take the steps to end it. Read on to find out how to do so.
If you are considering taking action due to workplace discrimination, it can be helpful to informally discuss the issue with a legal expert to determine whether or not to pursue the issue. They can not only evaluate the validity of your case but also provide you with advice pertaining to your specific jurisdiction, such as explanations of Portland labor laws.
Begin with Recording Incidents of Discrimination
If you feel you have experienced discrimination at work, the first step you must take is to gather evidence to help illustrate your case. Whether or not you eventually resolve the problem internally or via legal action, this is imperative, as the more supporting evidence you can provide, the more convincing your case will be. Try to record all incidents where you felt discrimination occurred. Ideally, you should give a description of the nature of the events, the time and date on which they occurred, and a list of the witnesses to the incident.
Attempt to Address the Issue Informally
Due to the stress that can be caused by workplace discrimination, you may be tempted to escalate the issue immediately. However, most employment lawyers agree that, in many cases, instances of workplace discrimination are the result of management and communication issues. Therefore, if you address the issue with your employer directly and informally first, you may find they are surprisingly amenable to resolving your problem. This is especially true if you make it clear that you desire to work with them, rather than cause problems for the company.
Formally Report the Issue to Your Company
If you find that the informal method was unsuccessful, the next step is to raise a formal complaint, in accordance with your company’s complaint procedure. Under federal law, your employer is obligated to promptly and sufficiently investigate any complaint of discrimination. This is important because it both gives your employer a fair chance to resolve the issue and if you later decide to pursue the case legally, proof that you attempted to deal with the issue internally will strengthen your case.
If Necessary, Contact Outside Counsel
If you were unsatisfied with the results of your employer’s investigation, it is time to contact an attorney who can help you resolve the issue externally. In this scenario, a lawyer can evaluate your case and determine its likelihood of success, as well as give you an idea of what sort of compensation you may be entitled to.