Employees can experience discrimination at work in many different ways. Sometimes, the discrimination is obvious, but more commonly, it might be subtle or masked as justifiable employment actions by an employer. If an employee suspects they suffered unlawful discrimination, they should take certain steps to protect their rights. To discuss a specific situation, employees should reach out to a discrimination attorney as soon as possible.
Preserving Evidence and Protecting Your Rights
If an employee feels comfortable doing so, they should discuss their concerns with a manager or supervisor – as long as that individual is not the one engaging in discrimination. Sometimes, an informal discussion is enough to clear up the issue.
If there is no one to report to, and the employee is concerned that their rights were violated, they should:
- Keep detailed notes of everything that occurred. This includes the time, date, and details of the discriminatory conduct, as well as any witnesses who might have seen what happened or who the employee spoke to.
- Save all messages – emails, texts, etc. – and relevant documents from the employer. Communications may or may not have obvious proof of discrimination, but an attorney should be the one to review all messages to identify potential discriminatory language.
- If possible, an employee should report discrimination to a manager or the employer’s human resources department, and may want to consult a lawyer before making a formal complaint. The employer should have policies and procedures for such complaints, and the employee should carefully follow these.
- If HR or a manager gives the employee instructions for the complaint process, the employee should follow them. If a union has additional procedures, those should be carefully followed, as well.
Sometimes, an employer will present an employee with documents to sign after they file a complaint, but no one should ever sign anything without first having it reviewed by an employment lawyer. Some documents might look favorable when, in reality, the terms involve an employee signing away rights to hold the employer liable. This can especially be true with severance agreements, which can be particularly harmful to employees who suffered discrimination.
The best course of action anyone can take following employment discrimination is to consult with a Bay Area discrimination attorney. A lawyer can review the details of the situation, all evidence the employee preserved, and other information, and they can advise the employee of their rights to possible legal relief. This might require filing claims with the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or even filing a lawsuit in court against your employer.
A San Francisco Employment Discrimination Lawyer is on Your Side
Whenever employment discrimination occurs, employees deserve full legal relief from their employers, though this is not an easy feat. Employees should have an experienced legal team that handles employment discrimination cases on their side from the start of the process. Minnis & Smallets is ready to assist, so please contact us for a consultation about your situation and our services today.