Employment Discrimination encompasses hostile work environment, constructive discharge, wrongful termination, and other claims that arise from harassment based on age, creed, disability, marital status, national origin, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, honorably discharged veteran status, or military status. Some of the most common causes of action involving employment discrimination are sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation. In order to have a successful claim for employment discrimination, the company must be on notice that the discrimination is taking place. That means you must have notified someone in management or HR about the discrimination and given them the opportunity to take steps to help you. If the person engaging in the discriminatory behavior is your manager or supervisor, the company is presumed to have notice even if you do not say anything because the supervisor or manager is the company’s agent and acts on behalf of the company.
Sometimes it can be scary to think about complaining about a coworker or supervisor’s actions but it is very important that you do so and often. If you can, keep a diary of the discriminatory remarks and actions, including date and time they were made and a description. Make sure your complaints to management and/or HR are in writing or that you follow up any verbal complaints with emails or other written correspondence so the complaint is documented. If you have an employee handbook, review any policies or procedures on how to report discrimination and to whom. It is important that you follow company guidelines on reporting as closely as possible. Again, if you do not give the company notice and the opportunity to fix the problem, you may not have a case.
If you complain about discriminatory behavior and HR initiates an investigation, ask that you be kept informed of what is being done, who is being interviewed, etc. Again, do this in writing. They may not be able to tell you everything that is happening, but you’ll want to know if they are doing an adequate investigation. Make sure you follow up and get the results of the investigation in writing. If you are a member of a union, contact your union representative or shop steward so they can represent your interests during the investigation. We usually do not sign clients during the investigative stage because we want to see how the investigation will play out and what the result will be. If HR does a thorough investigation and solves the problem, that is an ideal outcome and there is no case. If HR does an inadequate investigation and does not solve the problem, that is important information for your case.
If you have any questions about concerning behavior at work, feel free to call or email us. We will review the facts of your case and give you an idea of what your rights are. Everyone deserves to feel respected in their workplace. Not every uncomfortable work situation is employment discrimination, but we at Washington Injury Lawyers, PLLC are dedicated to getting justice in those situations that are.