Discrimination or harassment at work has many negative effects, including creating a hostile work environment, job loss and decreased productivity. Unfortunately, discrimination and harassment in the workplace happen all too often.
How does work harassment occur?
One way discrimination and harassment can occur in the workplace is when an employer makes job decisions based on an employee’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. This can happen when an employer assigns certain tasks only to employees of a certain protected class, or when an employer refuses to hire or promote someone because they are a member of a protected class. Another way it can occur is when an employee is subjected to unwelcome comments or conduct based on their protected status. This can include things like offensive jokes, name-calling, physical assaults and threats of violence. Last but not least, when an employee is retaliated against for complaining about discrimination or harassment, this can also constitute work harassment.
What can you do when work harassment occurs?
If you experience discrimination or harassment at work, there are a few things you can do. First, try to resolve the issue informally by talking to the person who is causing the problem. If that doesn’t work, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can file a complaint with your employer’s human resources department or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is a federal agency that enforces discrimination laws. You may also consider consulting with an employment discrimination professional to discuss your legal options.
Discrimination and harassment in the workplace can have a profound effect on an individual’s ability to do their job and feel safe at work. If you have experienced discrimination or harassment at work, it is important to take the appropriate steps not only to protect yourself but also to ensure that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.