You should consider reporting workplace discrimination and/or harassment to your employer through the processes outlined in your employment handbook or contract. If there are no procedures for reporting which you are aware of, you can report such misconduct to your supervisor or human resources department. You should report complaints of discrimination or harassment for a number of reasons. First, if you do not report such actions to your employer, they will not be on notice of the illegal behavior occurring in their workplace, and therefore will not be able to remedy the behavior. Second, if you do not report the incidents to your employer, they may not be liable since were unaware of the actions in the first place. Third, reporting such acts to your employer classifies as a “protected activity.” It is illegal for an employer to subject you to any adverse employment actions, such as termination or unpaid suspension, due to your participation in a protected activity. Once you report the behavior, if your employer takes certain negative actions against you, you may be able to demonstrate that they only did so because of your complaint.
You may want to consider reporting your concerns to your supervisor, a human resources representative, or management via written documentation because it may serve as concrete evidence of your complaint. This will allow you to keep a record of when you made the complaint, what the complaint was, and who was made aware of your complaint. If you only report the issue in an oral fashion, your employer could potentially say they never received any complaint, that the complaint was made on a different date, or that the complaint was about a different subject matter. An example could be not being provided an N95 face mask for your protective needs.
Maintaining any and all documentation you submit to your employer relating to your complaints can truly help support your claim. Make sure you keep copies in as many places as possible, such as in your personal email, physical copies, on a flash drive, etc., in case you lose one of those versions of your complaint. Most importantly, make sure that you retain a copy of everything outside of your work email, as long as it is not prohibited by your employer. If you are terminated, your employer could immediately shut down your work email address and you will no longer have access to any complaints you’ve made via email. Also, try to retain a copy with a date stamp on it, as it will help to prove when your complaint was made. This could be done by sending it via email through the normal reporting method or by using a date stamp that your employer uses for its business records.
Outside of complaints made to your employer, you should also make sure to retain records of anything that might pertain to your complaint. For example, if you have received discriminatory messages via email or text, you should keep copies of these in the same manner as discussed above. The same goes for audio/video recordings, written warnings, and any other documentation that would help to prove your case.
If you have already reported the discrimination or harassment to your employer, and they have not taken any action to remedy your complaint, you should consider seeking help outside of your employer. This includes consulting a New York employment attorney who can speak with you about the circumstances surrounding your matter, and could potentially help fight to protect your both your career, your employee rights, and your rights as a human being. Contact the Long Island and New York City employment attorneys at Leeds Brown Law today via email or by phone at (212) 661-4370 or (516) 873-9550 for a free, confidential consultation.