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Workplace discrimination: Take these steps as a victim

Workplace discrimination can take on many forms. Even with federal and state laws in place to prohibit discrimination, this remains a problem in companies of all sizes and in all industries.

If you have reason to believe you were the victim of workplace discrimination, here are five steps you need to take:

  • Report the behavior to your employer: Make it clear that you know what's happening, and that the conduct is unacceptable. It's best to file a formal complaint with the HR department, and request a copy of the written report.
  • Don't let it go: Your HR department may tell you that they're looking into the incident. From there, several weeks go by and you don't hear anything. Rather than let it go, continue to follow up to determine where things stand.
  • Keep good records: You don't want your discrimination claim to turn into a "he said, she said" battle. To protect against this, keep a diary that outlines all incidents. At a minimum, write down the date, time, location, people involved and the details of what occurred.
  • Keep physical evidence: Along with written records, physical evidence can come in handy in the future. For example, if a supervisor sent you an email that backs up your claim, keep a copy of it in a safe place.
  • Read your employee handbook: It's here that you're likely to find your company's anti-discrimination policy. Read through this to ensure that your company is following the protocol they have in place.

After you take the above steps, you should then review all federal and state laws to learn more about your legal rights. For example, some of the most well-known federal anti-discrimination laws include:

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Any form of workplace discrimination, no matter how minor it may first appear, should prompt you to take action. By taking the steps above, you're putting yourself in position to protect yourself.

If you're dealing with discrimination at work and feel like there's no way out, learn more about your legal rights. There are steps you can take to protect yourself.

Browse our past blog posts and website for more information on workplace discrimination, sexual harassment and other related topics.

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