How to Handle Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

If you're experiencing discrimination as a result of your race, speak up.

If you're experiencing discrimination as a result of your race, speak up.

Racial discrimination in the workplace is an unfortunate occurrence that, much to the chagrin of many, still sometimes rears its ugly head. While most feel that everyone should be treated equally regardless of race, not everyone lives by this ethical principle of life and business. If you experience racial discrimination within the workplace, or you witness another individual being discriminated against, there are things you can do to help right the situation and make your workplace a universally equitable one.

Support the victim of discrimination. Being discriminated against can be an emotionally draining experience. If you are witness to this discrimination, voice your support to the victim so she doesn’t feel like she is in it alone. By telling her you are aware of what is occurring and you support her, you may give her the courage to speak up regarding the inequity. (WorkplaceFairness.org)

Gather evidence of the discrimination. If you attempt to say, “Yes, people are being discriminated against,” but bring nothing to the table to substantiate your claim, your cries likely will fall on deaf ears. Before you can act against this discrimination, you must gather clear evidence that it is taking place. Document instances in which you are discriminated against or times when you witness discrimination. Take care to document instances that can’t be explained away. For example, saying that you did not get a promotion just because of your race isn't enough unless you have evidence that proves that this is the only reason another person got the promotion instead of you. (Unison Page 9)

Lodge a formal complaint. Talk to your supervisor. File a complaint with human resources, providing your evidence. If you have tried this, you can take your concern to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a government agency dedicated to identifying and preventing inequitable treatment of protected groups within the workplace. Before called the EEOC, think carefully about the decision as employers may begrudge having to deal with this organization so, if your case is determined to be unfounded, your work environment may suffer. (EEOC)

 

About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.

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