State and federal law provide a number of protections for employees in Virginia to safeguard individual rights in the workplace. Despite these guarantees, many employees feel discriminated against in the workplace in light of an employer’s hiring and firing practices or general business decisions. Dealing with discrimination in the workplace can be overwhelming and difficult to handle.
According to a study on racial discrimination by Rutgers University, nearly 30% of African Americans, 22% of Hispanics, and 6% of white Americans have experienced discrimination in the workplace. Another study found that 31% of Asian Americans surveyed had similar experiences. Many women and members of the LGBTQ community also experience discrimination. Whether the discrimination is due to one or two individuals’ beliefs or a greater, systemic issue, there are three steps you should take to handle the situation.
Talk with Someone Trustworthy
Getting feedback about your own thoughts and feelings can be a great way to evaluate your judgment from another’s perspective. Grab a friend you trust who is a neutral third party, such as a non-work friend, your spouse, therapist, or even a parent or family member who gives you honest advice. Oftentimes, when inappropriate behavior takes place at work it isn’t the type of behavior you can legally take action against. Get the person’s opinion on the situation before moving to the next step.
Keep a Work Diary
If you are considering action against discriminatory practices, you may have considered leaving your job; however, realistically this isn’t a possibility for most victims. If you quit without having another position lined up, you’re at risk for running low on funds and you lose your benefits. Most people simply do not have this luxury.
What is often effective is to write down specific instances of discrimination in a work diary or journal. Be sure to note the date and time, and the message or action that was unfair or inappropriate. In addition, you can include details about the tone of the message and the context. Be as specific as possible – in employment matters, the devil is in the details.
Speak with a EEOC Employment Attorney
Discrimination can have devastating consequences for anyone. If after careful consideration you believe you are being discriminated against at work due to your race or nationality, religious beliefs, being a woman (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, citizenship status, age, or disability, an employment law attorney may be able to help mitigate or end these hardships.
At Bertini Law, we are a boutique firm in Virginia Beach that handles employment discrimination cases in Tidewater Virginia. With years of experience fighting for employee rights in the workplace, we understand the difficulty of taking legal action against your employer. To speak about your case with a compassionate attorney, call (757) 222-9165 or contact us here.