by Christine Yared
What should you do if you are experiencing discrimination or being sexually harassed at your place of employment? There are five critical steps you should take. These steps apply for discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender expression and identity, religion, disability, age and other protected classes. They also apply to retaliation and sexual harassment.
1. Take Notes – Take notes about the improper actions as they occur. If you are not reading this blog until after the actions have taken place, you should still write notes now based on your best recollection.
What type of details are important? Include the time, place, words, actions and witnesses.
Example: I was in the break room pouring a cup of coffee with my back to the door. (insert name) came from behind me, tightly hugged me with the front of his body pressed against my back and his arms around my breast area. He made a comment like “hey baby,” or something like that. I don’t remember the date but I think it was the week before my son’s spring break. I think it was in the afternoon but I am not sure. After work I told my best friend about what happened.
Where should you keep your notes? At home. Do not record them on your work computer.
2. Gather Evidence – Make copies of letters, emails, notes, written jokes or cartoons, and other evidence. If someone places an inappropriate object in your work area, take a photograph if you can do so in a private and safe manner.
3. Talk to an Experienced Employment Law Attorney – Most attorneys will meet for an initial consultation for a small fee or without charge. Select an experienced employment law attorney. Evaluate the attorney during your first meeting.
You should find a different attorney if the attorney:
4. Read the Employee Handbook and Union Contract - Read and follow the steps in your employee handbook. If you are in a union read and follow the steps in your bargaining agreement. For safekeeping, print or copy the:
Pay specific attention to time deadlines. File a written complaint even if you missed a deadline.
5. If Needed, File A Complaint With the EEOC - Read here about the law, process and deadlines for filing a complaint with the:
If your employer is not handling your complaint appropriately, in a timely manner, or if you are experiencing retaliation, meet with your attorney and file a timely complaint with the government. Your attorney should advise you whether to file with the EEOC or state, the time deadlines, and the discrimination, retaliation and sexual harassment categories to select.
Each case is unique. Do not underestimate the importance of consulting with a qualified, experienced employment law attorney.
2/16/2021 06:55:13 pm
I totally agree when you shared that it is important to choose an employment attorney who is experienced in the area. My friend just mentioned the other day that she was being harrassed at her workplace just because she is the only woman in the company. I will suggest to her looking for a reliable and experienced attorney to help with her case.
6/20/2021 12:46:24 pm
Thank you for reminding us that when we encounter workplace discrimination, it is important for us to take notes to ensure we remember all the details. The details are important as when we speak with an attorney, we will be able to provide them with a track record and proof to support our claim. Since my daughter will begin work this Monday, I will advise her to be mindful of workplace discriminations.
7/22/2021 01:49:51 am
Great tip on how you should consider hiring a lawyer when you receive racist remarks around your workplace. Making sure that your rights are protected during situations like these is indeed important. I should probably share this with my friend who plans to start working after graduating.
1/11/2022 11:04:54 pm
Thanks for sharing such a detailed and informative post regarding workplace discrimination and sexual harrassment. Recently, I hired the employment attorneys of Cummings and Franck law frim as I was facing discrimination issue and they offered the best legal advice.
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