The workplace has long been a battleground for discrimination and harassment cases. There are quite a number of legal precedents and laws that cover these situations. If you feel like you are being discriminated against in your workplace, here are the steps you should take to seek justice.
Know your rights
All workplaces are required to display the rights of employees in a visible place. This poster is often placed inside of break rooms. You should read this poster carefully because it also outlines your responsibilities as an employee should you have to file a claim. For instance, you may have a limited amount of time to file a claim after an incident or have to report it to management before moving up the legal chain. It depends on the laws of your state. Note that if your workplace does not display these rights and refuses to do so, that is also a violation that needs to be reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Document and report as soon as possible
The EEOC is the organization responsible for enforcing employee discrimination claims. It is best to file your claim within 180 days of the incident. However, before approaching the EEOC you should gather documentation about what happened and any supporting evidence to bolster your case. An employment discrimination attorney can tell you what kinds of evidence will help you and can file the EEOC claim on your behalf in case you want to be anonymous.
You must also be aware that if you get fired because you filed an EEOC claim then you have a strong case. Almost half of the cases they handled are due to this. The EEOC has an over 90% success rate in lawsuits they file, so your odds are very good if your case is accepted.
Note that the EEOC is responsible for federal employee rights violations. Your state may have additional laws regarding employee rights and organizations that enforce those state rights. The employee rights poster should have the information about these.
Prepare for consequences
If people do not speak up then nothing will change. However, many people who are discriminated against fear social consequences should they speak up. It can feel like schoolyard politics all over again. Speaking up could cause social pressures on you to increase or get you fired.
However, if you come prepared for the fight then you can get a lot more back than you lost. Employers who discriminate should not be allowed to get away with it. On a personal level, if you’re fired then you could get your job back as well as get additional compensation and lost earnings. On an organizational level, you could change your workplace’s culture and help other coworkers who are too intimidated by reprisals to speak up.
Know that the law is on your side if you are facing workplace discrimination. To maximize your chances of a result in your favor, speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after the incident to get legal advice about what to do next. Contact The Cochran Firm today at 1 – (800) – THE – FIRM.