What Steps Should I Take If I Suspect I Am Being Discriminated Against At Work?
Employment discrimination can take many forms, and the discriminatory actions against you could be subtle. You might not be sure if you are being discriminated against based on an illegal classification like sex, race, and age, or being mistreated because your supervisor is mean or just does not like you. However, if you suspect your employer is violating a federal or California anti-discrimination law, you need to act quickly to not miss any important deadlines to file a lawsuit if that becomes necessary.
Take These Steps to Protect Your Employment Discrimination Claim
Your first step could be to discuss your concerns informally with your supervisor or manager—unless that person is the one discriminating against you. If this step does not resolve the problem, you should do the following:
- Keep a journal. You should keep a journal of all the incidents of discrimination. You will want to write the date, time, and witnesses to any incident as well as the details of what happened.
- Save documents. Keeping copies of any letters or documents you send to your employer or that your employer sends to you can be helpful if you need to file an administrative complaint or lawsuit.
- Complain formally. Make a formal complaint of discrimination to the appropriate person where you work and follow up by putting your complaint in writing. Keep a copy of your complaint for your records.
- Follow your grievance procedure. If your employer has a grievance process, you should follow it. Contact your union representative or your human resources department if you do not belong to a union.
- Do not sign any documents. You should not sign any documents without first having an experienced employment discrimination attorney review them. You could inadvertently waive your legal rights.
- File a complaint. You can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), and your complaint will be investigated free of charge. If you file a complaint with one of these agencies and ask that they cross file it, the other agency will receive and work on your complaint as well. A complaint with the EEOC must be filed within 300 days of the last act of discrimination, and DFEH’s deadline is one year from the last act of discrimination. You must file a complaint with these agencies before filing a lawsuit.
- Contact an attorney. Because of the complexities of federal and California anti-discrimination laws, it is critical that you contact an experienced employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible. He can advise you of the critical deadlines you must meet, the steps you should take, and can negotiate a favorable settlement for you.
If you believe you were discriminated against at work, call Orange County employment litigation firm today at 949-679-9909 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.