How to Overcome Discrimination in the Workplace

Workplace discrimination can be subtle and difficult to prove.

Workplace discrimination can be subtle and difficult to prove.

Discrimination in the workplace affects the emotional, physical and mental well-being of an employee. Although there are federal laws in place designed to prohibit discrimination in the workplace, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, when the discrimination is subtle in nature or done in a concealed manner, it is often difficult to prove. If you think you are the victim of discrimination, there are some things you can do to help you overcome it.

Approach the person you are having the problem with to confront him about the situation. Do this when you are not upset or angry. Keep calm while you are speaking and clearly state what the problem is. Inform the person you are unhappy about what he has done and explain what you would like to see happen to fix it. Tell the person you are prepared to take further action if the discrimination continues.

Review your employee manual to find out how the company's anti-discrimination policy works and how you are to report it. Some companies want you to report acts of discrimination to your immediate supervisor, while others may request that you report it to the human resource department. Follow the procedures exactly as they are written.

Inform your supervisor that there is a problem. Explain that you have made attempts to handle the situation on your own, but the discrimination has continued. Tell your supervisor you are taking the issue seriously and ask your supervisor to investigate your complaint.

Keep a detailed journal to track the incidents as they occur. Record the date and time along with what happened and who was present. Make a note of when you reported the incident to your supervisor and what was said. If the occurrences have been nonverbal, such as leaving an improper picture on your desk or writing derogatory comments on a whiteboard, keep the item or take a picture to keep as evidence.

Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Community to file a complaint if the situation does not improve. Discrimination complaints must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days of when the incident occurred. This also is required if you plan to file a private lawsuit in court.

Realize that the discrimination you have received does not define who you are. Do not let it affect your feelings of self worth. Taking steps to stop it not only shows how strong you really are, but may prevent the discrimination from happening to someone else.

 

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Casey Kennedy has been writing online content since 2009. She specializes in writing about small business, careers, real estate, and ecommerce. She also enjoys writing about a variety of other subjects, including home improvement, gardening, and pet care. She attended the Academy of Art online, studying interior architecture and design while pursuing commercial flight training at Aviation Atlanta in Georgia.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images