Bullying, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace are, unfortunately, more common than we might think. Worse still, most people assume or feel like they won’t experience such problems until they themselves become targets. Not many people are equipped with the knowledge of what to do when they get bullied, harassed, or discriminated against.
In the worst cases, you may want to lawyer up immediately. Still, there are a lot of things that you can do to help mitigate the situation and even help your case if or when you choose to file a legal complaint. Here are some helpful tips.
Don’t Let Emotions Colour Your Judgement
Especially in cases of harassment and bullying, it’s easy to fall prey to our emotions. Try your very best not to do this. Focus on the issues and not your feelings, especially about the person who’s harassing or bullying you. “Feeling” like you’re being discriminated against or bullied is not enough. You should be able to provide solid, concrete facts.
Check the Employee Rule Book
Speaking of concrete facts, one of the early steps you can take in dealing with bullying, harassment, and discrimination is to consult the employee handbook or the company’s rule book. Not only will this document provide you with a basis that the person is actually doing something against company policy, but it will also indicate the ways you can file a complaint. You should definitely handle matters internally first before escalating it to a legal issue when nothing is done by the company to resolve the problem. Hopefully, it doesn’t arrive at the latter.
Report Incidents Immediately
Make sure to report any incident of bullying, harassment, or discrimination immediately. It could be to your manager, a human resources staff, or even a dedicated personnel assigned to handle such cases. Make sure to read any and all policies for employees, and follow these policies in reporting and filing your complaint. Do this as soon as you can. In addition, it’s best to keep a written copy of the complaint. If there’s a meeting conducted about your complaint, politely ask for a copy of the meeting’s minutes or summary. Moreover, you should also keep all documentations that you receive after you file the complaint.
Keep a Record of All Succeeding Offences
If you can, write down what happened during the first occurrence of any bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Be as detailed as you can, even if it can be a little challenging. Include information like the date and time, and the names of the witnesses. You should also include the name of the person you reported to, along with their response. Do this for all succeeding offences, especially if no action is taken the first time it happened. All of these records will be helpful in the future if/when the case is escalated to law enforcement or a legal forum. Again, don’t let emotions colour the reports you are making. Ensure accuracy and objectivity to help build a solid case. Finally, keep the records in a safe place and make multiple copies just in case something happens. You can never be too careful!
Don’t Comply with or Ignore the Person
When bullies and harassers target you, perhaps your first reaction will simply be to give in to get things “over with.” Sometimes, you may opt to ignore the offending person. However, responding in these ways will make the bully or harasser think that you’re an easy target. Bullying and similar behaviours are often about feeling more powerful than other people. Therefore, not offering any resistance will invite more similar situations. It might be challenging to do, especially if you have a fear of confrontation, but reacting to reassert your control of the situation may help deter the bully or harasser. At the very least, it will make that specific encounter stop.
Continue Doing Your Work
This can be another difficult thing to accomplish, but it will be in your best interest to keep doing good work for your company. If you don’t think you’ll be able to do so, it’s better to ask for some vacation time to help you approach things with a clearer mind.
Getting bullied, harassed, or discriminated against is a stressful ordeal, and you’ll need all the support you can get. Tell your family, trusted friends, and/or co-workers about the abuse you’re experiencing to prevent yourself from feeling abandoned. Likewise, if someone close to you is being bullied, harassed, or discriminated against, offer them support as well. Again, these are challenging circumstances, and everyone needs all the help they can get when dealing with such undesirable situations.
Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. This is not just a nice thing to do; it is a matter of law. Both federal and state laws prohibit racial discrimination against employees. Racial discrimination comes in many forms. If you have been denied a job, a promotion, a pay raise, or an opportunity enjoyed by others because of your skin color, ethnicity, or national origin, then you have been discriminated against. And the person or persons who did it and the organization that allowed it to happen have broken the law.
The first instinct of anyone who has been treated in this way is to solve the problem at the lowest possible level. You don’t want to cause an uproar; you want to get on with your job like everyone else. You don’t want to draw negative attention to yourself or make trouble for those associated with you. It is okay to feel this way. And it is a good idea to speak to the person whom you suspect of discriminating against you. You may have misunderstood the entire situation, which is why you should first talk to your colleague directly before you report them.
If the person you suspect of racial discrimination does not give you a satisfactory answer, if they deny plain facts, try to disingenuously spin what they have done, or crudely change the subject, then you will need to elevate your complaint.
Your company should have established procedures for making complaints about racial discrimination. Make sure you follow them to the letter. If you are forced to later litigate the matter in a civil suit, you don’t want to give them any reason for saying that you did not follow proper procedures.
Personal Action and Conduct in the Wake of Racial Discrimination
Accusing a colleague or company with racial discrimination is serious. No company wants to be tarnished with the stain of racial discrimination, which is why the people you accuse will make every effort to discredit and diminish your claim. You must be very careful in how you carry yourself after you have made the allegations. Indeed, before you go on the record with the charge, you should do the following:
1. Save all records of communication with the person
People who are bigoted do not announce it openly. They understand that in today’s world there are certain things that one cannot get away with saying or doing. Bigots speak in language that is seemingly race-neutral but is meant to demean and intimidate people of color. You should save all emails, text messages, and social media exchanges you have had with the person who has engaged in discriminatory behavior against you. You should also save all voice mail messages, as you don’t know which ones will be relevant.
If your exchanges with the person occurred on computer servers, cell phone systems, and PDA devices owned by the company, then you should forward the relevant content to your personal accounts immediately. Once you have officially launched an action against the company, you will probably be shut out of your company accounts.
2. Cautiously speak to others who may have been discriminated against
You should also quietly, carefully, and cautiously speak to others who may have been the victim of the person’s racism or a witness to it. You will need to exercise your best judgment in collecting this information. You will need to determine quickly who you can trust to keep your inquiry in confidence and who is likely to go running to management about it.
You need not speak to everyone who looks like you. Indeed, the more people you speak to, the more of a risk you will run of being found out. Speaking to two or three people who may have experienced racism at the hands of this person will suffice. In your questioning, be sure to avoid making accusations. The more business-like you can be about the inquiry, the more cooperation you are likely to receive from the individuals concerned.
3. Hire a lawyer
If you have tried to speak to the person directly about their conduct and gotten no result, if you have taken your complaint to the proper authorities in your company and have not received a satisfactory response, then you will need to hire a racial discrimination attorney. Hiring an employment attorney in Los Angeles is a last resort. And when you speak to your lawyer, they will understand the tremendous strain you are under and act accordingly.
The above are the actions you should take if you have been discriminated against. Here are a few things you should avoid doing:
1. Making a scene in the office
Being the target of bigotry and prejudice can be humiliating, embarrassing, and infuriating. It will of course elicit an emotional response. Most bigots aim to do exactly that. However, you must master and control your feelings. You can vent to your family and your non-work friends in the privacy of your home, but you cannot make scenes in the office. Doing so will only help the racist in your midst.
2. Posting about it on social media
You must also avoid posting anything about your complaint on social media. The contents of Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and other such sites are used as evidence in civil suits. The lawyers for the company you are taking on can use any intemperate language on social media against you.
In fact, you should limit your use of social media until the issue is resolved. Even postings that seem innocent and innocuous can be used to undermine your case.
3. Discussing it with work colleagues
You should avoid discussing the details of your complaint with your work colleagues. You will have formed bonds and friendships with many of your colleagues. But the less you say about your racial discrimination complaint the better. This is for your protection and theirs. In the end, you are accusing another colleague of racism. If you have elevated it to an official complaint, then the person’s behavior and yours must be treated as confidential.
Even if you have moved passed the stage of official complaint and launched a lawsuit against the company, in which case the accusations become a matter of public record, you should avoid discussing the subject with the people you work with, as they can be subpoenaed and deposed by the company’s lawyers, and the testimony they give may do damage to your case.
How the Case Will Be Handled
If you have decided to take legal action against the company, you must put the case in the hands of a racial discrimination attorney. A racial discrimination lawyer is an employment lawyer dedicated to getting justice for those who have been mistreated in the workplace. Although your employment lawyer will act in a kind, cordial, and sympathetic way toward you, their primary purpose will be to get to the facts of your situation. If you have been fired, denied promotion, or subjected to some other form of mistreatment owing to your race, a law has been broken, and it is the job of your attorney to get you justice.
West coast employment lawyers who specialize in racial discrimination will know how to best handle your case. The company will want to avoid a costly and public trial. They will instead want to settle the matter out of court. West coast employment lawyers know how to gather the kind of fact and evidence that will give them an advantage during negotiations.
If you have been the victim of racism at work and have exhausted all in-company means to resolve it, you may need to speak to an employment attorney in Los Angeles to get other options.
Regardless of precautions, accidents will happen. When you are involved in a workplace accident, you need to follow a number of steps to deal with the problem.
If you have recently been involved in a workplace accident, there are several steps you need to take right away. Here is what you have to do.
1. Examine the Injury
The first thing you should do if you or another person just had a workplace accident is to identify if there is a medical emergency. Quick assessing of the problem will help you prevent the most serious complications.
You should determine the type and extent of the injury before everything else. Have a staff member with formal first aid training assess the injury before taking any action. Health takes precedence over any legal implications!
2. Get Medical Help
Most workplace accidents will only cause loss of productivity, but some can be life-threatening if you don’t act fast. Immediate medical attention will help the injured party establish the timing if their injury. It will also help the employer by minimizing the risk of complications and additional injuries.
The most common workplace accidents result in muscle strains and back injuries. While these are not medical emergencies, the victim of the accident will need medical attention nonetheless.
Medical attention is crucial for the victim’s safety. It is also critical in building a legal case when the victim is planning litigation. If you want to seek damages or file insurance claims, you will need to build a record of your workplace injuries.
Also, note that some workplace injuries are less obvious than others. A slip and fall accident may leave you feeling fine, but you might have internal bleeding or head injury and may not know it yet. A doctor will help identify all underlying injuries after a workplace accident.
3. Support and Cooperate
If your employee or coworker just suffered a workplace accident, you should act with compassion first and foremost. Offer them your support and show you care straight away.
Worker’s compensation insurance may cover any financial costs, but you should take steps to ensure your employee’s wellbeing after the accident as well. Read more about the most common worker’s comp injuries to know what your insurance may or may not cover.
Remember that you will want your employee to return to work in a good mood. You don’t want an accident to affect workplace satisfaction for them or anyone else.
4. Inspect and Document
After you deal with any medical emergencies, it is time to inspect the scene of the accident and document every detail that may help your case. Try to answer these questions:
- What were the main causes of the accident?
- If it was a trip and fall accident, was it due to some misplaced item?
- Was the floor slippery?
- Were all the rules and regulations followed?
- Did some special occasion cause disruption?
- Could the accident have been prevented?
- If it could have been prevented, what went wrong?
- Is the risk still there?
- Where there any witnesses?
Also make sure to take photographs of the scene and any possible hazards, such as wet floors or dangerous items. Photos of the floor and the general area will help you claim your worker’s comp insurance, or build your case in court.
If there were witnesses, make sure you collect their contact information. Your insurance company or the court may ask you to call the witnesses to testify. Ask witnesses to provide you with the following:
- Contact details, including phone number and email address
- A brief summary of what they witnessed
You should also ask your doctor to document the state of your injuries upon your arrival. This is important because many workplace injuries don’t leave behind visible marks, and if the court takes time, you may not have solid proof of the accident.
5. Fill a Workplace Accident Report Form
To avoid a lot of legal hassle, you should always have every type of workplace accident report form available at your workplace. When someone suffers an accident, hand them the forms or deliver them to the doctor who attended them first.
These forms will allow the doctor to assess the situation and make official rulings when it comes to returning to work after the injury. This will minimize costs and productivity loss.
This will also ensure that the injury is reported across the company. Depending on the size of your business, many different people would have to know about the injury. These include supervisors, HR managers, accident management coordinators, personal injury attorneys, insurance carriers, safety inspectors, and individual department managers.
6. Report to Your Employer / Check in with Your Employee
If you are a business owner and your employee had an accident, you should check in with them shortly after the accident to find out about their health. Offer your support, as we have seen above, and discuss the next steps.
If you had an accident at your workplace as an employee, report to your employer as soon as possible. Just a brief call to let them know what happened is enough. You should let them know if you are planning to sue or claim worker’s comp benefits.
Get Workplace Accident Expert Legal Help
Finally, whether you are an employer or a victim of a workplace accident, it is crucial to get legal help. When you suffer a workplace accident, you must make a claim and you deserve a fair recovery.
Browse Halt Lawyer Directory for the broadest list of lawyers, including personal injury and workplace accident experts. Finding the right attorney as soon as possible is crucial to claiming your worker’s compensation benefits, so act now.
Turning the Other Cheek Will Not Solve the Problem: 4 Common Workplace Violations You Should Be Aware Of
We’ve all heard the old saying “turn the other cheek”. To do so means to ignore a slight or mistreatment at the hands of another person. It means we ignore it and carry on trying to do our best in life, with good intentions, rather than being dragged into the negativity of a tit-for-tat situation.
Unfortunately that doesn’t always work in the real world. Sometimes if you turn the other cheek, the abuse is only going to get worse. The problem continues, or gets bigger, and people believe you aren’t bothered by it because you’ve ‘turned the other cheek’. What a nightmare!
There are situations when you have to stand up for yourself at work. Times when you need to fight back and be heard. The law believes this too, and it is on your side if your rights have been violated. Let’s take a look now at 4 common workplace violations you should be aware of, because if you’re a victim to any of these situations, you have means to get things put right through the courts of law.
Personal injury is probably an obvious violation to most people. What some people fail to realise is that the injury doesn’t have to be debilitating. Any type of harm or injury you suffer entitles you to compensation. Likewise there is never a time when it is okay for your employer or colleagues to get physical with you.
In the past there were plenty of people who had to endure being wrongfully terminated. This meant they had been fired for an invalid reason. There are all kinds of reasons this happens, sometimes to save wages, save face or even just over personal reasons. Regardless, you can only be terminated from your contract for work related issues. Anything else, and you might be able to sue your former employer.
Discrimination includes poor treatment on a personal level, or limitation on a professional level. If any of this is based on factors such as your age, gender, race or sexuality, you have a great case for discrimination. There are other factors which people discriminate over too. If you feel you are being discriminated against or picked on, speak to a lawyer immediately – they can help you figure out whether your situation falls under discrimination or not.
Unpaid overtime is a big issue in employment law. By our nations laws, any worker who is engaged in duties that are necessary for their job (such as putting on a uniform or preparing the work area) must be paid while these activities take place. Likewise, if you are paid hourly you should be paid for any and all time that is worked – not just what was intended. That means if you have a 9 to 5 which regularly finishes at 6 o clock, you should be getting paid for that hour of overtime. Unless your contract states otherwise, you are always entitled to pay for time worked.
Work place discrimination occurs when an individual or a group of persons are deliberately disfavored and treated differently based on their race, religion, gender, national origin, age or even sexual orientation. Work discrimination is prohibited by the federal and state laws. For example, the age discrimination in employment act of 1967 (ADEA) protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on their age. The civil rights Act of 1964 bans race-based discrimination, as well as sex, religion or national origin. Below are some of the types of work place discrimination;
9. Age Discrimination
You can be treated less favorably when applying for a job because of your age. Most companies prefer youths because they are young and energetic and can work hard for long hours. The Age Discrimination Act of 1967 outlaws discrimination of employees who are above the age of 40, adding age discrimination as the one of the 9 types of workplace discrimination.
8. Religious Discrimination
You can deliberately be denied a job despite qualifying because of the religion you ascribe to. You can also be treated differently in your workplace because of your religious beliefs and practices, landing religious discrimination on the list of the top types of workplace discrimination.
7. Pregnancy discrimination
You can be discriminated at your work place by your employer because of your pregnancy. The employer may refuse to grant you a maternity leave or give you the options of choosing your job or your pregnancy. According to the pregnancy discrimination Act of 1978, pregnancy must be deemed as a normal, objectifiable condition, which is why pregnancy discrimination ranks on the list of different types of workplace discrimination.
6. Gender discrimination
This is unequal treatment of persons based on their gender or sex. You can be treated in a way different from colleagues of the opposite gender in a manner that violates the terms and conditions of the employment .For example, you can be earning a smaller wage compared to your colleagues despite you being at the same level of qualifications because of your sex, which is why we have gender discrimination ranked in our list of the top nine types of workplace discrimination.
5. National origin discrimination
You can be discriminated at the work place because of being an immigrant. For example, an immigrant with equal qualifications as other employees can be denied a promotion or get a smaller wage because of his or her country of origin, ranking national origin discrimination among the worst types of workplace discrimination happening in the nation today.
4. Sexual Harassment
You can be sexually harassed at your work place by colleagues of the opposite gender. You may not be interested in them but they make advances towards you. They touch you inappropriately without your permission. This is a form of discrimination that affects most young women.
3. Sexual Orientation discrimination
You can be discriminated because of your sexual identity in relation to the gender to which you are attracted. Employers can turn down your application because of revealing that you are bisexual. You can also be deliberately laid off when the company is conducting retrenchment because of sexual identity, which is why we have sexual orientation discrimination as one of the worst types of workplace discrimination.
2. Disability discrimination
Ranking near the top of the list of types of workplace discrimination is disability discrimination. Disabled persons can denied employment in different sectors of the economy because of their disabilities. Employers may also lay off employees who have acquired disabilities during their careers. Americans with disabilities act of 1990 prohibits discrimination of disabled persons by employers in any way.
1. Racial Discrimination
One of the worst types of workplace discrimination is racial discrimination. You may be treated differently at your work place by your colleagues and employer because of your race. The employer may disfavor you when issuing promotions. You may be denied compensations and benefits because of your race.
The employers who discriminate should face financial liability and the employees subjected to discrimination in the work place are entitled to seek financial compensation for the harm that their employers cause. To learn more about discrimination law read and follow our blog for new content published daily.