Discrimination in the workplace is an unfortunate reality for many individuals. However, employees are not powerless in the face of such challenges.
You have the right to address discriminatory practices at work. And by doing so, you can help foster a more inclusive and fair work environment.
Understand your rights and company policies
The first step in combating discrimination is to familiarize yourself with your rights and company policies, as knowing your rights empowers you to navigate the situation. Consult employee handbooks to determine the proper procedures for reporting discrimination.
Keep a record of discriminatory behaviors
Documenting instances of discrimination is also important. Maintain a detailed record of specific incidents, including dates, times, locations and individuals involved. This documentation can serve as valuable evidence if you need to escalate the matter.
Address the issue directly
If you feel comfortable, consider addressing the discriminatory behavior directly with the person involved. Clearly communicate how their actions or words are inappropriate and make you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes, individuals may not be aware of the impact of their behavior.
Utilize the chain of command
If addressing the issue directly proves ineffective, escalate the matter by reporting it to your supervisor or the human resources department. Follow your company’s established procedures for reporting discrimination and be sure to document and address your concerns in a timely manner.
Connect with colleagues
You can also connect with colleagues who may have experienced similar issues or consider joining employee resource groups that focus on diversity and inclusion. Sharing experiences and insights can be empowering and provide valuable guidance.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the EEOC received 2,751 new charges of unlawful employer activities in Michigan in 2021, highlighting how pervasive workplace discrimination can be. Remember, all employees have the right to shine a light on illegal practices without fear of retribution.