What should you do if you face discrimination in the workplace?

We all deserve to be treated with respect in the workplace, no matter who we are or where we come from. That is why discrimination laws exist so people cannot be treated unfairly due to their race, gender, age or disability. In a perfect world, those laws would never have to be enforced but unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace does still happen. If you find yourself on the receiving end of it, it can be hard to know what you should do. Some people worry that they will lose their job if they speak up so discrimination often goes unchallenged. If you are facing discrimination at work, here is what you should do. 

Report it right away 
The first thing that you need to do in this situation is report it to somebody. Problems can arise here because the person that is discriminating against you may be a superior. However, the HR department in the company is independent of that hierarchy. You should always file an official complaint with HR right away so there is a record of the issue and everything is handled using the correct processes. The HR team will inform you of what to do next. 

Seek legal advice 
In some cases, you may need to take legal action. It is not uncommon for people to be unlawfully fired from a company after making a complaint of this kind, and the person in question may also challenge your accusation. That’s why it’s important that you seek legal advice from Employment Solicitors and ask how you should proceed. They will advise you on what you should and shouldn’t do, and offer you the legal protection that you need should the situation escalate. 

Do not engage with the person in question 
When you face discrimination, it is important that you call it out. If somebody makes a remark that you’re uncomfortable with, you should tell them, without acting too hostile. In most cases, people don’t mean to offend and they just need to be educated. It only becomes an issue when that behaviour continues and you are forced to make an official complaint. When it reaches this stage, do not be tempted to try to speak with that person because they may make claims about you being offensive towards them. It is best to let the HR department deal with it from here on out. 

Consider your future 
Even after the situation has been resolved, you may be left feeling uncomfortable. There may be an atmosphere between you and the person that you made a complaint against (if they’re still working at the company), and you may wonder whether you really want to work at a place where that kind of behaviour goes on. This often leads people to ask the question, should I quit? At the end of the day, it depends on whether you can still meet your career goals at another company, but you should at least consider your other options. 

Discrimination in the workplace shouldn’t happen, but it’s a reality that people sometimes have to face. If you find yourself in this difficult situation, be sure to follow these steps and you can hopefully resolve the issue.  

This is a collaborative post that was ghost written for More From My Career.

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