Everything You Need to Know about Reporting Workplace Discrimination
Before getting into the ins and outs of reporting workplace discrimination, we first need to know what exactly counts as discrimination. Discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employee is treated unfairly due to their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, skin color, or maternity status.
In 2020, the top three most commonly reported workplace complaints were about retaliation, disability and race. Although employees are strongly advised to seek legal counsel and/or make a formal HR complaint when they face discrimination, it’s important to understand all the intricacies of this process prior to submitting a complaint.
The Three Main Types of Workplace Discrimination
All workplace discrimination reports will most likely fall under one of these categories:
- Direct discrimination: This is when an employee is treated differently because of an explicit and obvious reason. This could be anything from race, gender, age or disability. An example of direct discrimination is when an African-American employee is declined a promotion because of their skin color.
- Indirect discrimination: This is different from direct discrimination in that it is more subtle and often enforced through unnecessary company rules and policies. For example, an employer may enforce a dress code that prohibits certain religious garments commonly worn by a particular racial group. This rule has nothing to do with the job, but isolates a certain group of people.
- Harassment: This is when a fellow employee or manager is projecting negative behavior towards another employee that is unrelated to the work itself. This could include asking inappropriate questions, making unappreciated jokes, and name calling or insults. Harassment can also be directed at someone’s race, gender, age, or sexual orientation.
Understanding and identifying the three main types of workplace discrimination can help you build a solid incident report.
The Technicalities of Filing a Report about Workplace Discrimination
Like with every other human resource complaint, making a report about workplace discrimination is a technical process. For example, below are the steps for filing a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):
- Before making a report, the employee will have to go through a tedious pre-complaint stage where they will be counseled by the EEOC on their rights and responsibilities. They will also get a mediator who will mediate the initial meeting with both parties to open communication and seek a resolution. If this fails, the employee will have to move on to the next step.
- The next step is filing the complaint. The employee will have to build and submit any necessary files or documents that will aid the investigation process. This will include documentation, hearings and interviews, and eventually decision-making; the employee has little or no control over these proceedings. Not only is this stage draining for the employee, but they also run the risk of having their complaint dismissed for reasons including lack of evidence, and the company’s failure to comply with time limits. However, there is always the possibility to appeal.
- If the case is dismissed or resolved with an unfavorable solution, the employee can submit an appeal. All appeals must be made by a specific deadline, and there is no guarantee that they will be granted.
The Benefits and Inconveniences of Reporting Workplace Discrimination
Not only is reporting workplace discrimination a complicated process, but also a risky one. Below lists some benefits and inconveniences that come with making a complaint:
|A complaint forces the organization to acknowledge the problem. They can no longer claim to be unaware if future incidents of discrimination are reported.||Investigating is a very time consuming process. Employees may be called in for interviews, which can impact their quality of work. If HR decides to terminate an employee, it will cause a delay in work operations and additional costs to replace the employee.|
|An employee who reports discrimination can receive financial or medical compensation.||If the case is taken to court, it will cost both parties legal fees and take a long time to resolve.|
|A carefully and successfully handled complaint sets a good example for and boosts trust in other employees.||A poorly handled complaint will be met with backlash from the complainant or the employees.|
How DoNotPay Assists in Reporting Workplace Discrimination
To avoid retaliation and potential termination when reporting workplace discrimination, use DoNotPay’s Anonymous HR Complaints product! Here’s how it works:
- Log-in to DoNotPay on the app or a web browser
- Open the Anonymous HR Complaints service
- Enter your employer’s name and the mailing address of your HR department
- Describe the discrimination you’re facing and offer a solution to have it resolved
DoNotPay automatically sends your discrimination report to your HR department – anonymously!
What Else Does DoNotPay Do?
There’s a lot more that DoNotPay can help you with! Aside from tips on reporting workplace discrimination, DoNotPay has resources on issues like complaining about your boss without getting fired as well as samples for harassment complaints and complaints against difficult bosses. Here are some more services you may be interested in: