Have you been discriminated against by your employer because of certain characteristics of your person such as your race, gender, religion, marital status, age, disability, color, etc.? If you have been subjected to discriminatory remarks and employment decisions because of any of these reasons, then you can pursue a discrimination case against your employer. But before you do that, there are certain steps you must take. You also have to determine whether your particular complaint will fall under discrimination or plain and simple harassment in the job (because that happens a lot, too).
Remember that under the law, an employer cannot act negatively toward you because of your personal characteristics. If he/she does not approve of your gender, that does not give him/her the right to talk maliciously about your person. In fact, if the remarks and actions start to negatively impact your mental health, you can even pursue a civil case against them that will require you to hire a personal injury lawyer. Your physical, emotional, mental, and physiological well-being are protected under the law.
If you are sure that your employers’ negative actions and remarks are based on their discrimination of your personal characteristics, then it’s time to think about pursuing a case against them. But before you can file a lawsuit, you have to go through the whole process. Not doing so might put your case in jeopardy.
Talk to the Offender
The first thing you must do is the hardest of all: talk to the offender, the person causing you harm. This might make them stop since some don’t even realize they are being discriminatory. From a legal perspective, this will give your case a boost because the offender is already cognizant of the fact that his/her words have a harmful impact on you.
If you are not confident you can confront the offender since he/she might be higher in position compared to you, then ask someone to mediate. The mediator should be someone you can trust. During the meeting, you must prove that the behavior is unwelcome. Most offenders will say that you laughed at the joke or that you didn’t say something in the first place.
Make a Complaint Within the Company
It doesn’t matter if it’s directly the owner of the company, you must file a complaint still for documentation purposes. File an internal complaint with the human resource department. Ask for a copy of the complaint with the HR’s “received” signature because this is proof that you’ve gone through the proper process. This shows that you are giving the company the chance to rectify the matter internally.
Most companies will deny knowing about the incident, so they can throw the manager or co-worker under the bus. They think they have no legal liabilities when they do this. By complaining about the problem, you are making sure that the company is aware of what’s happening. If they don’t do anything to call the attention of the other party, then you can use that against them in court.
File an Administrative Charge
In the United States, a complainant must file an administrative charge first with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a similar state agency. You cannot file a lawsuit without this charge. This is a legal requirement, so make sure not to miss this step.
The EEOC will be the one to notify your employer about the charge. The agency will investigate your case and depending on what they find, will recommend you to either settle the dispute or take other action. The commission can file a case on your behalf although this does not always happen. In most cases, you will receive a right to sue letter. You will use that letter to file the case.
File a Lawsuit
Armed with the right to sue letter, you can now file a lawsuit under state and federal laws. This is where you need a lawyer’s help because you have to determine what to file, what incidences to include in the filing, and when to file. Way before you start this process, you already need to consult with a lawyer. But by the time you reached this point, your lawyer should have your 100% trust because you will depend on him/her for the rest of the case.
Filing a discrimination lawsuit is not an easy decision to make. Many people balk at the idea because the process takes so much time. Not to mention, it is also emotionally and financially draining. But you need to take your dignity back from those who tried to take it away. That’s the goal of filing and winning the case.