Entering a new work environment can be terrifying, especially if you feel like you are being treated differently from your coworkers. Whether you stand out as a minority or feel you are being targeted by coworkers or your employers, being discriminated against is a terrible feeling.
Do you feel that you are being unfairly treated in your workplace? How can you fight back against this treatment?
Here is how to tell if you are being discriminated against and how to prove discrimination in your workplace.
What Is Workplace Discrimination?
Workplace discrimination is any unfair treatment towards a minority group within the workplace. Discriminations laws protect:
- People over the age of 40
- Women and other minority gender identities
- LGBT+ individuals
- Disabled people
- Pregnant people
- All races
- All national origins
It is unlawful to discriminate against people in any of these groups, and discrimination can leave you subject to termination from your employment. It is illegal both under state and federal laws and can lead to arrests being made or lawsuits.
These groups are protected during the hiring and firing process, as well as during their time in the workplace. They cannot be treated unfairly in regards to pay, job assignments, potential promotions or changes in work level, or be forced to endure sexual or physical harassment.
How to Prove Discrimination in Your Workplace
If you believe that you or someone you know is being discriminated against where you work, there are options for you. Here are a few of the steps you can take to prove you are being discriminated against, as well as how to report discrimination in the workplace.
File a Complaint
Filing a complaint with either your employer or manager is the first step you will need to take when proving discrimination. This will help to start a paper trail for you and show your concerns.
With any luck, your department or higher-ups will take note of the issues and put a stop to them immediately. If you’ve made a complaint and notice no changes, then you’ll need to take a few more steps forward.
Keep a Detailed Log of Examples of Discrimination
Have you received any emails or notes harassing or belittling you? Make sure you hold onto each one and file them away safely. It’s good to take pictures of physical notes and save backups of emails in a separate location just in case.
For face to face encounters, you can still keep logs of what happens. Use a journal or diary listing exact dates and times of each event for use later on. This will help to legitimize your statements and make yourself more believable if you end up needing to go to court for your claims.
Make sure to keep a secure way to store all of the evidence you’re able to collect. This is to prevent people from tampering with it, or worse, deleting your data.
Read up on Local Discrimination Laws
It’s important to know exactly what is covered as “discrimination” in your area. Since state law also covers discrimination laws, they may only protect against certain groups of people. Unfortunately, if you are not covered under your discrimination laws, there may not be much you can do from a legal standpoint.
If you are covered, read all of the information regarding these laws that you can. Knowing your rights is a great way to help give yourself a boost in a legal battle.
Keep Record of Your Pay
One method of discrimination is to lower your payments or hire you on at a lower rate of pay than your coworkers. Keep a detailed record of your pay stubs or log each payment through your bank to show any odd changes or differences between you and your coworkers.
Some companies may also retaliate against discrimination complaints by lowering one’s wages. Be sure to keep an eye out for this, as it is illegal and the information can come in handy later.
Hang on to Mental or Physical Health Records
Have you been discriminated against to the point where you need physical or mental medical aid? Keep a record of any hospital visits or records caused by the discrimination in your workplace as evidence of your suffering.
Any attorney you may hire will need this information to make a strong case for you in court. No matter how small the issue might seem, save the information!
When in Doubt
If you have managed to gather evidence of discrimination in your workplace but don’t know how to proceed, or if you’re struggling to take note of everything, contacting an employment law attorney should be your next step.
An attorney will work with you both before and during legal proceedings. They can help you gather information and store it safely, as well as provide a game plan for if and when you need to take these issues to court.
You don’t have to solve everything on your own- if you are in doubt about what you can do to fix your workplace problems, contact an attorney right away!
Keep Your Work Environment Safe
Now that you know how to prove discrimination in your workplace and how to report it, you are ready to get back to a work environment where you feel safe and protected. Keep yourself away from hostile workplaces and feel happy working again today!
What have you learned from this guide? Have you noticed discrimination in your workplace after reading this?
We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Be sure to leave a comment with your own experiences with workplace discrimination, and continue reading our blog for more helpful information.