How Can I Protect Myself if I’m a Victim of Discrimination?

Posted April 11th, 2024.

Categories: Blog.

stressed employees

You should be able to work in a safe and productive environment. That can be impossible if your employer or coworker is harassing or discriminating against you. If you have recently become a victim of employment discrimination, contact a Cherry Hill employment law attorney for skilled representation.

What Are My Rights in the Workplace?

Under United States federal law, all employees and applicants have the right to work in an environment free from discrimination and to be treated equally to their peers. This means that your employer cannot discriminate against you because of certain protected characteristics that you may have, whether real or perceived. Both the United States Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibit employment discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Veteran status

An employer cannot consider any of the above when determining whether to hire an applicant, fire an employee, promote or demote an employee, delegate tasks, assign a salary, and more. They cannot mistreat you because of personal biases related to the above characteristics as they represent protected classes in the U.S. workforce.

What Should I Do if I’m the Victim of Employment Discrimination?

It is never okay for an employer, coworker, or other to discriminate against or harass you. Several steps can and should be taken after you are discriminated against at work. Consider the following to ensure you are seeking justice effectively.

  1. Document the incident(s)
    One of the most important things you can do if you are discriminated against is make a record of the incident. Write down a detailed description of the encounter. Include the names of people involved, what exactly was said or done, the date and time, and names of any witnesses. If an investigation is to be launched, the more details you have the better.
  2. Review your employee handbook
    Every company should have their own policies regarding discrimination and harassment. Make sure you fully understand the regulations. The handbook should explain what discrimination is and who to report any incidents to.
  3. File a complaint within the company
    Make a formal written complaint to the proper department. It is important to have written documentation of your complaint, your company’s response, and any future correspondence. Be detailed and descriptive and insist that an investigation be launched and something is done to rectify the issue.
  4. Talk to a lawyer
    Depending on how your company reacts to your complaint you may wish to speak to a lawyer. You can acquire the services of an attorney at any point, including before you make your in-company complaint to get their advice and have them take a look at the company’s policies. Your lawyer will be able to advocate for you and ensure your employment rights are being respected.
  5. Report the discrimination
    You may wish to take the issue higher. With the help of your attorney, you can report the incident to the EEOC or the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs who can audit and investigate on your behalf.
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