Litigation claiming workplace discrimination has increased. Outsiders quickly dismiss the problem as further evidence of a “woke” culture. But HRD Australia reports research that found 15.5 million workers experienced discrimination at work.
Whether it has to do with age, race, gender, disability, or sexual identity, people feel the pain. Workers can find some shelter under the umbrella of protective laws dating as far back as 1966. But this jigsaw of good intentions, overlapping policies, and still-evolving legal precedents may confuse workers when discrimination rears its ugly head.
4 crucial steps you need to take –
Employers should not dismiss claims of workplace discrimination. Management too often says, “This is all in the eye of the beholder.” Worse yet, some companies will ignore such claims, sweep them under the rug, or retaliate against the complainant. But you have rights, like those protected by employment lawyers in Sydney.
Read up on discrimination –
If you feel your coworkers, management, or the workplace are doing you wrong, you should be sure the law applies to your situation. The courts recognise two forms of “workplace discrimination” — direct and indirect discrimination.
● Direct discrimination: a person is treated with less favour because of protected attributes: age, race, gender, disability, or sexual identity.
● Indirect discrimination: a person feels discrimination when managers, coworkers, or business policies and procedures prove disadvantageous to marginalised groups.
Keep a record –
Your Human Resources person, lawyer, and jury prefer specifics. It makes sense to build a record of discrimination. A single egregious discriminatory act will not wait on your report. But most cases involve a slowly building culture of permissive behaviours. So you may need to present sight and sound to support your picture of direct or incorrect bias.
This record should include collecting company emails, postings, and other communications. These materials will put a time and date stamp on the discrimination from its start.
Keep your cool –
It will not help if you turn an incident of discrimination into “road rage.” It would be best if you did not walk away from the problem or quit for another job. However, it would help if you calmed down, organising your thoughts, and collecting evidence of discrimination, threats, or retaliation. If you feel stressed or frightened, you should retain a lawyer and follow their advice.
Keep control –
You should master communication in this age of social media. Limit your contact to coworkers, Human Resources personnel, managers with a need-to-know, and a lawyer specialising in workplace performance issues. Make sure you do not use Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and similar platforms to litigate your discrimination claim.
Keep matters civil –
Most employers do not want you to sue. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, you should follow company procedure on reporting discrimination issues. But you need to consult a workplace attorney to help frame your approach. And, if that does not work, you have an attorney relationship to see you through your complaint in court.