Are you being discriminated against?
What to do when you are being discriminated against.You know you are being treated differently because of your sex, race, age or disability-now what?As a private, non-union employee, your first stop is the employer’s employee handbook. You must follow the proper complaint procedure and allow the employer the chance to do the right thing. Make sure you keep copies of everything you give to HR, including your emails documenting the discrimination or harassment. Please be careful when having discussions with your HR representative. Recognize that this person is paid by your employer and isn’t really representing your interests. However, you need to speak with them to inform them of the situation that you are experiencing in your job. This will guide you on what the company expects of you in reporting this abuse, i.e. filing a verbal or written complaint with your HR representative or contacting a particular individual.If you are a unionized employee, it is especially important to follow the procedures set forth in your union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Pay special attention to the deadlines for filing a grievance and the steps that you need to follow before you are able to file suit. Usually you have a very small window of time for filing a grievance and if you miss it, you won’t be able to sue your employer.If the act of discrimination is significant, i.e. termination, demotion, loss of working hours, substantial change in schedule, change in pay, being put on a performance improvement plan without justification, etc. you will need to file your EEOC and PHRC charge within 180 days of these “discrete events.” You should consult an attorney at this point to evaluate whether you have a claim. If you don’t file your EEOC/PHRC charge within 180 days, you will not be allowed to file a case against your employer in court.Go to the EEOC link to get more information on the filing procedures.The time when the discriminatory act takes place is the most important time of your case and will determine whether you get to proceed against your employer or not. Be careful about what you say and do and get help. Please accept the content of this Blog for informational purposes only. This Blog is not meant to provide legal advice on your specific circumstances but rather, to give employees a general understanding of the legal issues affecting them. If you believe you have suffered discrimination, retaliation or wrongful termination in the work place, you must contact an attorney for advice on your specific facts.