Discrimination in the workplace is a serious infraction. When the discrimination is based on age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or disability, it is a violation of employment law. If you feel you have been discriminated against by managers or co-workers, then you should file a complaint with the human resources department. Get ready to meet in person with an HR representative by having a written record of events and witness statements to present.
Check for specific employer protocol regarding how a complaint regarding discrimination should be handled. For example, the policy at the County of Sonoma, California, is to present your complaint to an affirmative action representative in the HR department. According to the County of Sonoma, you can also bring someone you choose to represent you when you attend the meeting.
Write a report to take with you when you speak with your HR manager. Begin by citing the employment law that prevents employees from bias against employees based on age, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Remember, you want your report to be accurate and professional.
Write down what type of discrimination has occurred and detail every instance of discriminatory behavior. For example, if you were denied a bonus when the rest of your team members were given one, and you believe it is because you are Hispanic, this is a specific event to report.
Consider each instance carefully to assure yourself that there is no other viable reason for the behavior aside from bias. For example, if you suspect you did not receive extra hours over the holidays because you are an older employee, this could be age discrimination. But if a few younger employees were also not given more hours, this could indicate that age bias did not occur.
Obtain witness statements from those who have observed the discrimination. This could be the most valuable evidence you possess. Ask your co-workers to write and sign statements about events they witnessed that indicate discrimination against you. Some co-workers might want to be anonymous, which will make for a weaker HR complaint. It is up to you whether to give the names of the witnesses during your meeting.
Ask for a personal interview with the HR manager. Tell him you are making a formal complaint of discrimination. Present your argument to him verbally and also provide a copy of your written report. Keep a copy for your own records as well. Take notes of the human resources manager's feedback and thank him for his time. Request that he get back to you as soon as possible regarding an action plan to address the problem.
Consult an attorney if you are unsatisfied with the outcome following your discussions with HR personnel, especially if you feel your employment is in jeopardy.
Whatever you say in your complaint can form the basis of a lawsuit, so it is important that you have your facts straight and that you are courteous and professional to everyone.
Lisa Mooney has been a professional writer for more than 18 years. She has worked with various clients including many Fortune 500 companies such as Pinkerton Inc. She has written for many publications including Woman's World, Boy's Life and Dark Horizons. Mooney holds bachelor's degrees in both English and biology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.