The workplace you provide for your employees should give them a positive environment where they can grow professionally. Unfortunately, many workplaces don’t provide their employees with this type of environment. As a business owner, have you examined your workplace practices thoroughly to eliminate discrimination?
Many workplaces represent negative environments for some employees who are targeted because of their personal characteristics. In other words, many employees encounter discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, many of these employees decide to accept the poor treatment that they receive in the workplace—from their coworkers and even from their employers.
If you have been treated poorly in your workplace, it is essential that you take action to combat the unfair treatment. Taking action early on can prevent the situation from worsening and spinning out of control. Therefore, as soon as you notice any discriminatory treatment, you should do the following:
- Make it known that you are not comfortable with the discriminatory situation.
- If the discriminatory remarks are continuous, keep track of when and where the discrimination occurs.
- Report the discrimination that you are experiencing to a superior.
- Report the discrimination that you are experiencing to your Human Resources department.
In many cases, once superiors are aware of the discrimination an employee is facing, they will take action to address the situation. However, in many other cases, superiors are the parties responsible for the discrimination the employees are complaining about.
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Is Your Employer Treating You Fairly?
“There are many employers that hire people only to later begin treating them unfavorably,” says Daniel Azizi of California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group. “These employers start mistreating their employees based on protected personal characteristics. However, they are quick to disguise their discriminatory actions as part of bad moods or bad days.”
Unfortunately, many employees accept the unfavorable treatment because they believe their employers do not genuinely mean what they are saying or how they are treating them. After all, anyone can have a bad day.
Without a doubt, it is normal for someone to have a bad day every now and then. However, that is not an excuse to allow them to continuously mistreat others. So do something to put an end to the negative treatment you are experiencing in your workplace.
Know the Numbers Behind Workplace Discrimination
US workers have filed more than 1 million employment discrimination complaints with the US government since 2010. In 82 percent of these cases, the worker did not receive any form of relief.
Relief from employment discrimination can mean monetary compensation, either through a settlement or court action. Or it could mean a change in work conditions, like an employer providing physical accommodations for a worker who uses a wheelchair.
For the 18 percent of workers who did see results through agency processes, relief came in a variety of forms. This was typically money or accommodations at work. Some of that assistance was the result of a settlement or mediation before the agencies reached a determination on the merits of the case.
Some Groups Face More Discrimination Than Others
While many surveys have explored Americans’ beliefs about discrimination, one survey in particular asked 3,453 U.S. adults about their beliefs regarding and personal experiences with discrimination in America. The people in the survey included African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, white Americans, and LGBTQ adults. Both men and women were included in the survey.
The results show that there is significant variation across groups as to whether they report having personally experienced discrimination because of their race, gender, or LGBTQ identity.
What Is Workplace Sexual Harassment?
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) defines sexual assault as “any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks the capacity to consent” (U.S. DOJ, OVW 2018).
While sexual assault is a criminal offense, the law also recognizes sexual harassment as a form of employment discrimination. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) states that “unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment” (U.S. EEOC 2018a).
Know How to Respond to Workplace Discrimination
If your superiors or your HR department have not addressed or put an end to the discrimination you are experiencing, look into the possibility of filing a claim with either a state or federal employment agency. Alternatively, seek out an agency that enforces employment laws.
The agency will investigate your claim and take action against your employer if they conclude the employer is breaking the law by mistreating you. You also have the option to pursue a civil lawsuit against your employer.
Employers Must Address Discrimination
Discrimination in the workplace is something that can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable to deal with. Although many people deny the fact that discrimination is constant in many workplaces, it does happen. Moreover, it can have severe effects on affected victims.
As soon as you notice that you are the target of discrimination in the workplace, address the issue. Then work toward remedying the situation. If you allow the discrimination to continue, you run the risk of working in a hostile work environment. This could have even more negative effects on you, your professional career, and even your health. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. Do not allow your employer to treat you poorly.
And if you are the employer, ensure that you and your staff are mindful of any discrimination in your workplace and seek to eliminate it at its source.