Dealing With Racial Discrimination At Work

May 4, 2023

Advancing in your career can be challenging. Unfortunately, these challenges can include racial discrimination by co-workers, supervisors, and even your employer themselves. Fortunately, state and federal law protects workers against discrimination in the workplace. It is up to you, however, to make sure you are taking the necessary steps to protect the rights which you are granted under these laws. The failure of people to take these necessary steps is why many acts of racial discrimination go unreported in workplaces around the country. In this article, we will discuss four steps you can take to make sure you are dealing with discrimination in an appropriate way. If you are in need of assistance, then contact us today to speak with a Charlotte employment law attorney.

Four main steps to take if you believe you are the victim of racial discrimination include:

  • Discussing your situation with an attorney as soon as possible
  • Conducting yourself at work appropriately and listening to the advice of counsel
  • Maintaining documentation of all inappropriate conduct
  • Reporting the incident to the appropriate person at your work 

Failing to take these steps can result in you not having a case against your employer or, worse, your employer being given grounds to terminate you. We will now discuss each of these steps in turn.

Discuss Your Situation With An Attorney As Soon As Possible

If you believe that you have been discriminated against on the basis of race or ethnicity, then it is important that you discuss the situation with an attorney immediately. A lawyer will listen to your side of the situation and will let you know whether or not they believe that what is happening to you is illegal. If they do believe that the situation is illegal, then your attorney can assist you in understanding what steps to take at work (such as contacting human resources). They will also inform you of the type of evidence you need to gather in order to bring a claim. The process of dealing with discrimination can be one of the more complicated areas of the law. An experienced lawyer will ensure that you are navigating through the process correctly.

Conduct Yourself Appropriately at Work and Listen to the Advice of Your Lawyer

If you are the victim of discrimination, it is important that you do not respond in an inappropriate way. It is understandable that you are angry and upset. You must not, however, become aggressive with co-workers, begin calling in sick regularly, or engage in other conduct which allows you to be labeled as a “bad employee.” Doing so may very well hurt your discrimination claim and may, in fact, give your employer grounds to terminate you. This can take you from a situation where you have a legitimate claim to one where you have no recourse against your employer. Your lawyer will give you advice on how to deal with the situation appropriately. It is crucial that you heed their advice.

Maintain Documentation and Records of Discriminatory Acts

You will need specifics and proof in order to bring a claim of racial discrimination against your employer. It will not be enough to say, for example, that you have “been discriminated against for years” when you cannot give dates and details of any specific instances. A good step is to keep a journal, or some other written record, of inappropriate conduct. This journal should list the date, a description of exactly what happened, and why you believe the conduct constituted discrimination. It should also list any other individuals who witnessed the conduct as well as what items may be evidence of the conduct.

An important thing to remember in regard to keeping a journal is that discrimination can be systemic in some workplaces. In order to provide a more complete context, your records should also include incidents of similar discrimination you may have seen others suffer. If, for example, you are called a racial slur then you should document it. You should also document any instances you witness of other individuals being treated the same way as this can be evidence of a company-wide problem.

In addition to keeping a journal, you should also keep records that show that you are being discriminated against. These records can include printed-out emails, photos of inappropriate items left on your desk, screenshots of inappropriate comments on social media or in company communication tools, etc. Having these types of records, in addition to a journal, prevents you from being in a situation where you may look like you are bringing a claim with little to nothing in the way of specifics. Actual evidence, such as a printed email or a screenshot, speaks for itself.

Report the Inappropriate Conduct To the Appropriate Person at Work

Employers have an obligation to protect against racial discrimination in the workplace. They cannot protect against such discrimination, however, if they do not know about it. It can also be difficult to bring a claim against an employer if they are never made aware of the situation. Whom the discrimination should be reported to will depend on the specifics of your workplace. It may be a supervisor, a human resources office, the owner of the business, or some other person. Discussing the situation with an attorney can be of great assistance as counsel will offer advice to you as to how you can take the situation up the proverbial ladder. 

Contact a Charlotte Employment Attorney Today If You Are the Victim Of Racial Discrimination

If you believe that you are the victim of racial discrimination, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you speak with counsel, then the sooner you will have a better plan for dealing with the situation. The Fuller Law Firm is dedicated to standing up for the rights of employees, and we will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone today to speak with a Charlotte employment law attorney.