A recent study finds that 86% of Generation Z workers say they’ve experienced workplace discrimination or abuse. According to Forbes, an astounding 70% of all respondents said employers or coworkers had mistreated them.
While instances of workplace discrimination should be declining, the survey by workforce engagement platform Ten Spot reinforces that discriminatory and abusive behavior continues to plague workers of all ages and industries.
How to respond to workplace discrimination
Federal laws protect employees and job applicants from discrimination and harassment over race, color, religion, sex, disability, age, pregnancy and other classifications. If you experience discrimination, here are some steps to follow:
- Report the incident: Let your employer know you are being discriminated against and make it clear that the conduct is unacceptable. They will likely not admit to any wrong behavior by the company or others, but they must comply with the law.
- Ask for a written report: Employers must promptly investigate these matters. Urge them to take corrective action against the offender or offenders and provide you with a document detailing their investigation and actions for every incident reported.
- Keep a journal: Record every incident in a diary, including the date, location, time, people involved, witnesses and recollections of the discriminatory behavior. Keep copies of emails, social media posts or photos of inappropriate items.
- Take action: If your employer fails to respond, or refuses to discipline the offender, it’s advisable to contact an experienced employment law attorney who can help you file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or take other actions to protect your rights under various federal and state rules, including the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
State laws also protect workers in smaller companies
The EEOC handles discrimination complaints involving employers with 15 or more employees. If your company consists of four to 14 workers, discrimination claims can be filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
Your lawyer understands how these laws protect you from all classifications of discrimination, including retaliation by employers against workers who report discrimination, harassment or other abuse suffered in the workplace.