Discrimination in the workplace is a serious problem for today's workers. Unlawful employment discrimination creates a work environment in which the workers suffering discrimination are faced with an unpleasant and possibly illegal work situation. At its worst, the workers who are subjected to such illegal actions may lose their jobs and even become unemployable.
The only "good news" is that workers subjected to employment discrimination can protect themselves because such discrimination often is illegal. If an employee or job applicant thinks that he or she has been subjected to job discrimination, here are five tips that the worker should employ to make sure that his or her discrimination claim is given proper attention.
1. The worker needs to know and understand the employer's rules and procedures that apply when employment discrimination or harassment is alleged.
If the worker wants his or her claims to be taken seriously by the employer, the worker has to properly bring an employment discrimination or harassment claim to the employer's attention. If the worker follows the company's rules, then he or she is in a better position to insist that the employer follow those same rules -- including timetables for resolving the claims -- as well.
2. Make sure that the employer knows about any existing or potential employment discrimination.
An employer can't take action until it knows about a worker's discrimination claims.
3. Keep a record of claims and the steps taken to resolve the problems.
An employer is unlikely to believe that there has been employment discrimination in its business unless it is confronted by believable claims with adequate proof. Accordingly, the worker must keep a detailed record of the alleged incidents. These records should include the names of the parties involved, when the alleged incidents took place, the names of any witnesses, and where the incidents took place. The employee or job applicant should also keep a detailed record of his or her actions taken to resolve the problems, including the details of conversations with company representatives.
By taking these steps, the worker can show that he or she is taking this problem seriously and expects the company to reply in kind.
4. If the worker has preserved any evidence of the alleged harassment or discrimination, he or she should keep it. Such evidence might include offensive objects or pictures.
Evidence such as this will be helpful in authenticating and resolving the claims.
5. Consider asking for the help of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the federal agency that deals with employment discrimination, or the state equal employment agency.
It may be a good idea for an employee or job applicant to take their claims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), if they don't think that the employer will pay proper attention to their complaint. The EEOC will then either investigate the claims itself, or ask the appropriate state agency to investigate. A worker can get EEOC help without obtaining an attorney, so he or she will not be faced with attorney fees at this stage. An employer may be willing to compromise with the worker if the EEOC concludes that the employer may have harassed or discriminated against the worker. However, if it does not appear that there will be a settlement, then the worker should retain an attorney to help with administrative hearings or judicial proceedings. An attorney will help the worker to get through administrative or judicial proceedings.
If worker follows these tips, he or she will have presented their claim in the best way possible and will have done their best to make sure that justice is done.
To learn more about federal, state and local laws that protect you against workplace discrimination, get my free report "Employment Discrimination" by clicking here.
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