Workplace discrimination is something that nobody should have to go through. However, the unfortunate reality is that it still happens regularly to all minority groups. If you feel that you’re being treated unfairly, it’s important that you speak up.
Before you say anything though, remember you can speak to a lawyer for disability discrimination, or any other form of discrimination you might be facing. A lawyer will help you to understand how your words can be used in any potential case.
Here are some of the most important steps to take in this process.
The first step you should take in addressing the issue is to make a verbal complaint, to alert your employer or HR department of the problem. This doesn’t need to be formal. Mentioning the problem to those in power to rectify it might be enough to have the discrimination come to an immediate end.
If your company prioritises employee engagement and a positive organisational culture, communicating this will be easier to do. However, even if you feel less comfortable communicating problems, you’ll need to bite the bullet.
Should your verbal report not yield any improvements, or if you should want a different outcome (such as repercussions for the perpetrator), you will need to file a formal complaint in the form of a grievance letter.
Filing a formal complaint can be a lengthy process. It involves a lot of documentation detailing the incidents, the gathering and submitting of evidence, finding witnesses and engaging in various meetings and hearings with your employer, human resources and even the person who has been harassing you.
If your formal complaint doesn’t get you your desired outcome, or the issue is swept under the rug, you might need to enlist the help of a labour lawyer in order to escalate the issue.
In this case, you will need to be prepared for a lengthy court case, but a great lawyer should help you achieve your desired outcome.
Manage Your Emotions
Managing your emotions in the workplace is crucial since this can impact how things progress, especially in the case of a legal altercation.
Allowing your emotions to get in the way of facts is a mistake that could jeopardise your case, so be sure to focus purely on what occurred and less on how it made you feel. Furthermore, be sure to remain calm and professional in meetings and hearings, and try not to let your emotions get the better of you, no matter how difficult the situation is.
Finally, remember that any formal issues and grievances at work should be confidential and the details should remain between you and your employer.
Spreading gossip around the office will only tarnish your name and reflect badly on your professionalism. If you need to vent, rather seek out a friend or family member who can support you, and if you’ve suffered mentally and emotionally, you can reach out to a therapist.