Over the past few years, unlawful Discrimination in the workplace is one of the topics that have been brought up more than once. The people who know it the best are the ones who work in Human Resources for the process of Recruitment. Such discrimination in the workplace happens due to a number of reasons ranging from age, disability, race, religion, sex, and more.
The vital fact to keep in mind is that even though it might not currently exist in your workplace, knowing how you should deal with workplace discrimination is still of utmost extremely significance not only for yourself but also for your co-workers.
Gender discrimination, Age discrimination, Race discrimination, or any other lawful discrimination in the workplace is one topic you should always educate yourself with among the plethora of other things that are happening in the workplace. One should also keep track of all the laws that protect the employees from such discrimination as they might come in handy in case such a situation arises.
Educate yourself with not only your own but the functioning of other industries and the approach they choose to deal it with also. Reading the newspaper on an everyday basis would be of huge help to stay aware of all such discrimination in the workplace.
Staying up to date on the employment laws is of utmost importance as there are a number of laws that protect employees from any such discrimination and having a good idea about those would save you from unpredictable situations that you might have thought there is no way out of.
Throughout the course of this article, you would get to know the many different ways that exist for one to deal with discrimination the right way along with information on the Civil Rights Act that could be quite helpful. The most important step in the same would be knowing full well the rights that you possess as an employee in any and every work setting.
Tips to Handle Discrimination in the Workplace.
If at any point, one or more employees raise their voice against discrimination in the workplace, the very first step of the whole process to handle it should be to check if an informal discussion can resolve the issue at hand. In case it doesn’t suffice and a formal complaint is issued, the below-mentioned steps can be effective ways to deal with Discrimination in the workplace.
These steps would ensure a thorough investigation of the complaint and the process would make it easier for both the parties involved in issuing the complaint and the necessary action against discrimination in the workplace would be taken.
• Register the Complaint
This might seem like a basic first step but it is extremely vital since it reflects if you are even taking the matter seriously. The first step to take against any matter is to address the issue at hand which this case is against discrimination in the workplace.
With support from HR, you should at first inform your line manager about the problem if it is not directed to them an investigation would be taken ahead keeping the nature of the complaint in mind.
• Seek Information and Clarification
The person handling the complaint should talk to the person who raised it and get the full story from their perspective. They need to find out: What was said and done.
When and where it happened. What the context of the incident was.Whether any other people were involved or witnessed the incident who could supply extra information.
It’s also important to record how the complainant feels as a result of their experience, and what the personal impact on them has been.
Check out the attached video to be aware of more laws that protect employees from unlawful discrimination in the workplace.
• Look for Solutions
Once a complete investigation of the complaint has taken place, the next step is to make the important decision regarding the extent to which the discrimination in the workplace has taken place and what do you seek to do against it.
In such cases, it is vital to remember the impact that discrimination had on you and those around you but also try to introspect if there is any cause or reason to it.
One must try to access all the support that they require in order to make the right decision from within as well as outside the establishment they are working at against harassment and discrimination in the workplace while maintaining confidentiality throughout the same.
• Rely on External Investigation
There is a possibility that the claimant (who could be you or somebody who chose to confide in you about the Discrimination in the workplace) is of the opinion that in house investigation is not enough or us insufficient to handle their concern or they might not agree with their outlook and decision.
In such a scenario, one would prefer to take things in their hands and choose to take things much beyond the process of appeals and grievances.
Examples of the same would be to begin a legal case against workplace discrimination due to your gender identity, sexual orientation, age Discrimination, national origin, religious beliefs, race discrimination, disability discrimination, workplace harassment, applying to an employment tribunal or to go to more such extents.
If such a situation occurs, you must ensure that you are taking all the professional and legal advice and are fully informed of what you are doing.
You will have to allow people from outside the organization to access vital information as well as evidence so it’s important to make sure that you understand all the laws regarding this.
Steps to Take Against Unlawful Employment Discrimination:
1. Spread Awareness
The very first step to resolving any and every problem is to address it make people aware of it by acknowledging it and then finding ways to deal with it. Therefore, you need to begin by making your employer aware of the discrimination in the workplace even regarding any sort of harassment.
It would not be surprising to know that a number of illegal acts of discrimination in the workplace then be it regarding an employee’s religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age discrimination, gender discrimination, or any other such discriminatory practices or sexual harassment have gone unrecognized and as a result unpunished. In such situations, the victims don’t raise their voices and the rest of the victims tend to then follow the same approach.
It is important that they make it clear which approach or conduct is unwelcome and unacceptable. It is very rare that employers readily admit to discrimination in the workplace or harassment for that matter and even help one to draft legal papers against them.
Your employer is the one who should be held responsible for complying with the law, but you alone are responsible for making sure that your personal rights are protected and that you utilize them wisely.
You shouldn’t hesitate to let your employer know that you are taking the matter seriously. Don’t be afraid to ask them for a written file every time you report to them an incident of discrimination or harassment.
Ask that a thorough investigation should be made into your allegations and that disciplinary or corrective action against the offenders is also taken.
All employers are required by law to give prompt consideration to all reports of discrimination in the workplace as well as harassment.
Another effective way would be to keep a diary of any incidents of discrimination in the workplace or even harassment.
You should record the date, the approximate time, the concerned location, parties that were involved, witnesses, as well as the in-depth details of the improper conduct or speech.
You should keep any objects or pictures that were posted, left for you, or even given to you during the discrimination.
2. Ensure a Supportive Work Environment
The most feasible way to promote fairness and equality at work, and also to uphold the law, is to be proactive and raise your voice against harassment and discrimination in the workplace. This also involves creating an environment in which mutual respect is a mutual priority, the benefits of diversity are well recognized, and there is also zero tolerance for bullying or any kind of bad behavior.
Everyone in these cases should be made to feel safe to raise a concern, and they should be confident that any issues will be addressed and acknowledged with the utmost sensitivity and effectiveness.
There are a number of ways in which one can embrace and accommodate the differences of people– by helping to ensure that there’s very little place for unfair treatment.
For instance, making adjustments that are appropriate for people’s disabilities is a very transparent way to show that you give everyone the same opportunities to thrive and make use of.
3. Review Company and Legal Laws.
Make it a point to review federal as well as state laws to see what your rights actually are. These laws are available at law libraries, some general libraries, and also on the Internet. Few of the major federal laws that are against harassment and discrimination in the workplace are inclusive of:
State and Federal Laws Against Workplace Discrimination
According to state and federal law, the following are a few acts that you must be acquainted with in order to save yourself from workplace discrimination before you get employed are as follows.
▪︎ Civil Rights Act
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin while going through the process of employment.
▪︎Equal Pay Act
EPA or the Equal Pay Act that came into action in the year 1963 protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from any kind of sex-based discrimination in their wages.
▪︎ Age Discrimination
The ADEA or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of the year 1967, protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from any kind of discrimination in the work setting.
▪︎ Disabilities Act
Title I and Title V of ADA Or the Americans with Disabilities Act that goes back to the year 1990, as amended prohibits all kinds of employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments;
▪︎ Rehabilitation Act
Both Sections, 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of the year 1973, prohibit any discrimination against qualified individuals and job applicants who have disabilities and who work in the federal government. Any bias against them is prohibited according to federal law.
▪︎ Non-Discrimination Act
Title II of GINA or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of the year 2008, prohibits discrimination among employees on the basis of any genetic information regarding an applicant, employee, or even former employee.
▪︎ Family and Medical Leave Act
FMLA or Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that requires employers or job applicants to permit their employees to time off, and also do not discriminate against them, in order to take care of personal and even family medical needs.
Apart from the extremely vital laws that you should definitely be aware of there is another significant law that you should be well acquainted with is the Civil Rights Act of the year 1991, which, among the many other things, provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination. Civil Rights Act saves employees from harassment and workplace discrimination in many cases.
4. Combat Discrimination
In order to maintain high ethical standards and legislation, the most appropriate thing is to create an overall policy for your organization – which could be a “non-discrimination,” policy that would vouch for “equality, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I),” or even “dignity at work”.
This document should highlight how and why exactly is equal treatment necessary and how one can go about achieving it – this includes the process of dealing with any discrimination complaints. Furthermore, it should identify individual responsibilities as well as the points of contact.
Another key point to remember here is to review as well as update your policy document quite regularly, and to give everyone access to it.
Keep a check and make sure that potential discrimination is covered in all other relevant policies, as well – for instance, those for recruitment, pay and conditions, and entitlement to take leave.
Moreover, make sure that all the rules and procedures that your organization swears by are in place and treat everyone equally and fairly.
In addition to it, if you are someone who is providing extra support to people with certain characteristics – such as prioritizing people from under-represented ethnic backgrounds while you are a part of a recruitment drive, you should voice out your opinion accompanied with your legitimate reasons for doing so.
5. Get Legal Help
Among the plethora of ways through which a person can save themselves and others from discrimination in the workplace, one of the ways and one of the most significant ways at that is investing in a good lawyer.
At the end of the day, even though it might seem like a piece of work and a waste of resources, investing in a good lawyer in actuality can save a lot of your money and time while even providing you with favorable results.
In any and every setting, dealing with discrimination or harassment is bad enough, what worsens it is when it happens at work, you might feel trapped since work is unavoidable.
If you are someone or you know someone who has been dealing with harassment or discrimination in the workplace, it’s in your best interest to get in touch with a local employment lawyer so that they can explain to you, your legal options.
The State laws that are against workplace discrimination are subjective from one jurisdiction to another and they might be called something different in each of its jurisdictions.
In case you have access to the statutes or legal code for your state, you must review the table of contents or even indexes and look for headings or descriptors that concern fair employment laws, discrimination, equal opportunities, and other similar topics, with the help of a lawyer. It would be much easier for one to be identifying discrimination claims owing to the federal government fighting against unlawful discrimination in the workplace.
6. Empower your Employees – Irrespective of their Race, Cast, Sex, Sexual Orientation, and More.
Your plan of action should be to make it difficult for discrimination in the workplace to go unchallenged by making it a point to empower everyone and helping them to call it out as and when they see it – without the fear of reprisal.
You should always be supportive of and promote open and honest conversations. Ensure that you are helping people to communicate clearly in order to avoid misunderstandings, and always lead by example, by communicating to a high standard yourself.
You can try to make use of your one-on-one contacts, as well. Always make it a point to give your people the time and space that is required to raise any concerns that they might have especially regarding discrimination in the workplace.
And, also listen carefully and considerately to anything that comes up during such meetings. Later you can show that you’re taking their concerns seriously, and are also following the routes to resolving the issue regarding harassment and discrimination in the workplace at hand.
Things To Be Mindful Of:
• Even though there are doubts regarding discrimination in the workplace or even harassment of any kind, might be or might not always be true but if a number of people are complaining about the same issue you should most definitely hire a lawyer to investigate more into the problem at hand.
• There are a number of firms and institutions for consultation that take a fee to do an in-depth investigation of your issue at hand.
• It’s best not to take even a single complaint of your employees lightly or for granted as it must take a lot of courage for one to actually stand up and complain against their superiors.
• They should be given the benefit of the doubt and their complaint should be looked into. A thorough investigation should take place regarding the same followed by interviews that should be recorded and taken notes of for one to always be able to go back and re-check them if need be.
• Planting security cameras is also a very simple yet useful solution as maybe not all the areas but most of them would be secured making the employees of your establishment feel protected and safe from employment discrimination, gender discrimination, disability discrimination, and other kinds of unlawful discrimination claims and any such unfair treatment.
Discrimination in the workplace comes in many forms and the way it affects people is also subjective. While not all countries have laws against discrimination in the workplace, but there are a number of countries that do and they usually claim to “protect” their employees with those characteristics as they make it illegal to treat someone differently because of characteristics like; Race, age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, and disability discrimination.
These are among the most commonly protected characteristics against unlawful discrimination – but there are other aspects of a person’s identity, for instance- gender reassignment, married status or military service that to an extent is also covered by the law but not entirely. The civil rights act is quite assuring when it comes to employment discrimination claims.
Such claims can be on the basis of offensive work environment, sex discrimination, international discrimination, mental disability discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, racial discrimination, religious discrimination, gender discrimination, and even the equal pay act to fight against any unlawful discrimination claims.
If you are somebody who is in a position of power and you have employees that work under you, you should most definitely consider the complaints of each and every one of your employees and implement the necessary actions. Look into each and every complaint and make your work environment a safe, warm, and protected space.