Discrimination in the Workplace: What Can Be Done?

The issue of discrimination in the workplace is very much still prevalent in today’s professional world. In some parts of the globe, there have been more than 25% of workers to report discriminatory instances. Tragically, many employees experience harassment or discrimination at work daily and do not even realize that there are steps that they can take to fight back.

It is illegal to carry out the act of discrimination in any employment setting. Everyone should familiarize themselves with work environment boundaries so that they can help when they see others cross the line.

How is employee discrimination defined?

The Oxford Languages dictionary defines the term discrimination as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.”

According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the current enforcers on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is illegal to exhibit prejudicial treatment based from someone’s race, gender, color, heritage, age, marital or family status, political opinion, or religion in aspects surrounding a job position like a referral, discharge, promotion, hiring, and others.

The following example of discrimination in the workplace comes from the true story of a Richemont (UK) employee, Cheryl Spragg. Spragg suffered from multiple cases of discrimination in her workplace. In one instance, she was denied career progression within her company based on her race on three separate occasions by the same woman. Her organization lacked diversity in higher-level positions, and her case revealed that the company showed a preference for white Europeans due to the absence of transparency, lack of interview records, and unorganized scoring processes.

What should an employee do if they fall victim to office discrimination?

Employees who find themselves subject to discrimination should take immediate action to protect their human rights. For those who face such a series of unfortunate events unexpectedly, here are noteworthy steps that can help resolve the issue:

  1. Document discrimination or start a journal and record any details revolving around your case, including date, specific time, individuals involved, people who saw the incident occur, location, and descriptive details of the inappropriate action.
  2. Bring awareness to your employer about the matter before considering litigation. Know that in the majority of discrimination cases, it is highly unlikely for employers to admit the reality of your instance willingly.
  3. Complain to your Human Resources department after informing your employer that you are moving forward with taking severe actions against the situation. Request–and double-check–that HR writes a report for your complaint. The recorded report grants protection over your right to file a lawsuit later since it proves you notified the company of the situation and gave them a chance to make matters right.

If you have any further questions in regards to discrimination in the workplace or how to implement proactive practices towards diminishing the issue successfully, StaffScapes is here to help! Contact our office to talk with one of our HR professionals.