Workplace discrimination is still far too common in this day and age. Federal law has provided protections for victims of discrimination, however it is important that individuals take certain steps to preserve their rights and increase their chances of success when discrimination occurs.
1. Report Workplace Discrimination to Your Human Resources Representative
This is one of the most often overlooked steps in a potential discrimination case. Many victims do not seek an attorney until after they have been fired, and unfortunately, many times that is too late. At the first sign of discrimination you should report (in writing) the conduct to either your supervisor or human resources department. This will put the employer on notice of the discriminatory conduct and give them a chance to remedy the situation before the problem escalates. Be professional and follow the steps that your employer has in place to make reports or complaints of problems in the workplace.
2. Document the Discriminatory Behavior
Always document the discriminatory conduct. Keep a record with a brief description of the conduct, the names of the individuals involved, and any witnesses that were present. Also, as part of the documentation process, make copies of any reports or communications you have with an employer when attempting to resolve the discrimination.
3. File a Claim With the EEOC and Consult an Attorney
If the employer does nothing to remedy the situation, or the behavior gets worse, file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This would also be a good time to consult an attorney. They can assist in filing out necessary forms and verifying that an appropriate charge is filed. The EEOC will investigate and will either pursue the lawsuit, or, more likely, will issue you a "Right to Sue Letter." This gives you the opportunity to pursue your claim in court with a private attorney. If you have followed the steps in documenting the wrongful behavior you and your attorney will have a much higher chance of success in pursuing your claims in court.