Workplace discrimination brings down the morale of all employees. Even if you’re not the target of discriminatory behavior, it can affect the overall atmosphere in any job setting. Discrimination is defined as unfairly treating a person or group of people differently. In practice, discrimination can be many things. A good discrimination lawyer can outline a long list of behaviors that constitute workplace harassment. It can be harder for an individual to identify discrimination in practice, and do something about it. Here are some tips that employees can use to help protect themselves and their co-workers against unfair discrimination:
Respect Racial and Cultural Differences
People aren’t identical. It’s important to accept people’s differences and work together as a team. Respecting cultural differences doesn’t require an in-depth study of every race and culture on the planet. It simply means that everyone should be treated as an individual human being, first and foremost.
Be Professional in Speech and Conduct
It’s important to address coworkers in a respectful manner, and always wise to think before you speak. It’s also helpful to put yourself in another person’s shoes. Being mindful of other people’s feelings, and remaining courteous at all times, will minimize the chance of causing a hostile work environment.
Let Calmer Heads Prevail
If you think that something you’re about to say or do might be hurtful towards another employee, then you should stop before you start. Especially when emotions run high, making insinuations or continuing to argue will only make things worse. Usually, the best move you can make is to simply walk away and allow yourself to calm down before continuing. Likewise, if you notice a co-worker getting upset, it’s best to suggest that they remove themselves from the confrontation until they’ve cooled off.
Avoid Culturally Offensive Humor
Everyone has heard a co-worker crack a joke at the expense of someone else. Most people consider good natured ribbing as a form of bonding between employees, but it can easily turn into a form of shunning and shaming. This inevitably leads to issues of a hostile work environment, and invites workplace retaliation. When in doubt, it’s usually best to leave pranks and jokes for outside the workplace.
Know Your Company Policies
You can empower yourself by knowing how the company handles workplace discrimination. If you know the correct procedure for reporting discrimination in their workplace, you’re more likely to make a positive difference. Knowing the ground rules can help you, and others, too. For example, if you see something that looks like gender discrimination, you can instruct the victim on the proper way to file a complaint.
Learn Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities
It’s easier than ever to find out information about discrimination. A quick search on the internet for examples of discrimination delivers a wealth of examples on discrimination and harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also has excellent information about workplace discrimination and employee rights.
Being pro-active is important to help stop workplace discrimination. The first step in combating workplace discrimination is identifying it and reporting it. Report incidents of inappropriate, discriminatory, harassing or abusive behavior to your supervisor. If your immediate manager can’t help, try sending a message to the Human Resources Department. Workers in unions find it especially useful to speak to a union representative.
If you’ve tried to resolve the situation on your own without success, don’t give up. then it may be time to speak to an employee rights lawyer. In the Los Angeles Area, call the Law Offices of Cathe L. Caraway-Howard. She and her legal team have had overwhelming success in taking on cases of workplace discrimination, gender discrimination, and other issues of civil rights and labor law.