If you feel you are being harassed at work or discriminated against, there are certain things you need to do to make sure your rights are protected. Some of these measures could improve the situation, but even if they do not, they will be useful in helping you provide proof for your case and making sure you can sue at a later date if you choose to.
Confront the Guilty Party
It might not be the most enjoyable thing you’ve ever done, but the first step you should take is to talk to the guilty party. This is the most effective way to persuade the person to stop mistreating you or treating you with utter and flagrant disrespect. If it does not work, though, giving them notice that you aren’t happy with their behavior will help you with your case later on.
For example, if you are being harassed, you have to prove that you didn’t like the person’s conduct and did not participate willingly or simply ignored it because it didn’t seem like a big issue. Such claims are often raised in sexual harassment cases where the guilty party claims that the target didn’t mind the behavior and actually found it enjoyable.
File a Complaint with Your Employer
If the talk you have with the guilty party does not yield any results, then your next step should be to talk to your company’s HR department to find out how to file a complaint. Make sure you follow all the instructions exactly and keep a copy of the complaint you file for yourself.
By filing a complaint, you are alerting your company that you aren’t happy with the situation and you are giving them the chance to investigate what is going on and fix the problem. At the same time, you are keeping your legal rights intact.
For example, if you want to file a harassment suit against the company, you have to prove they knew about the situation and did nothing to rectify it. If you are being harassed by a superior and you end up being fired, demoted, or being denied a raise, you can hold the company liable, but if a coworker is harassing you or a manager who doesn’t take any job-related action against you, the company can state they were not aware of the situation. Filing the internal complaint will act as proof that you did tell them about the situation.
File an Administrative Charge with the EEOC
Before you can sue, the law requires you to file an administrative charge with the EEOC or a similar agency. If you do not, your lawsuit will be thrown out. In some states, you might even be required to file a complaint with the fair employment practices agency in the state before being able to sue.
Once you file the charge, your employer will be notified. The commission or the agency might dismiss the charge, investigate the situation, request a mediation or settlement or do something else entirely. Once they finish processing your charge, they will send you a letter stating that you have the right to sue if they feel it is warranted.
When you receive this letter, you can file a lawsuit. However, you will need the help of a lawyer to determine whether it is worth it, and what to include in the lawsuit, as well as when and where to file it.
If you feel you are being harassed or discriminated against, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 310.312.0299. This is not something you should tolerate and we know how to end this problem legally and with conviction.