In recent weeks, we’ve discussed the topic of workplace harassment and discrimination and how these actions can affect employees. Harassment or discrimination in the workplace is a serious matter, and it affects an untold number of workers in Minnesota as well as throughout the country. When it occurs, employees have the right to file employment discrimination charges against their employer, particularly if the harassment negatively affected their job or resulted in unfair discipline.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, workplace harassment and discrimination usually occurs in two forms. This can include employment decisions or treatment being based on a person’s submission to or rejection of unwelcome workplace behaviors, and pervasive or severe conduct that results in an offensive or hostile work environment. A hostile work environment can also result in a negative employment decision, such as demotion or wrongful termination.
Since workplace harassment or discrimination against a person based on race, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and other factors is prohibited by federal law, those who have experienced this treatment can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is usually done at the office that is closest to where the employee lives, although it can also be done at any of the EEOC’s field offices. A claim is usually filed by mail or in person, but it is possible to begin the process by telephone or online. When meeting with a representative in person, it can help to bring any supporting documents, such as the following:
- A letter or notice detailing termination
- Adverse work performance evaluations or discipline notices
- Names and phone numbers of others who can support the employee’s claim
Workplace harassment and discrimination violate civil rights laws and make it difficult for people who are trying to make a living. Contacting an attorney with experience in employment harassment can also be helpful.