How to Deal with Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
Bullying, discrimination or harassment in the workplace is an intolerable act that should be appropriately addressed. It can make someone feel powerless and unsafe in an environment supposed to be comfortable and secure.
While you might think that you can’t do anything, the contrary is true. Every employer is responsible for promoting a safe work environment, and tolerating bullying, discrimination or harassment is against the law.
If you are a victim of such actions in the workplace, there are some things you can do to stand up for yourself and assert your rights.
Speak to the Perpetrator
While this isn’t appropriate for all situations, one of the first things you can do is have an open discussion with the perpetrator about their behaviour. Inform them how their actions make you feel while keeping everything professional.
Confronting your bully face to face can be awkward or terrifying, but this can be a potentially effective way of making their behaviour known to them.
Speak to Human Resources
If talking to the perpetrator is ineffective or impossible, you can speak to someone else instead. Whether it’s someone from Human Resources, your manager or your union’s representative, they should be well-positioned to help you.
Utilise your employer’s internal complaints procedure that should address issues similar to your case. In addition, don’t be afraid of talking about your problem to a friend, partner or colleague. It’s important to have emotional support during this challenging time.
File a Complaint with the Fair Work Commission
If you’re not satisfied with how your Human Resources Department or management handled your case, you don’t have to give up and tolerate the situation. Instead, you can file a complaint with the Fair Work Commission.
This agency has the power to make orders that stop the perpetrator from harassing you. You can seek a lawyer to help you file a complaint to ensure that it meets the proper criteria, has a strongly constructed argument and is lodged in the right time frame.
Seek Legal Advice
You can consult a lawyer who’s an expert in employment law who will assess your situation and guide you in making the best move forward. You can seek the help of a lawyer at any stage of the process, whether when the harassment first began or when you’ve tried all possible actions to rectify the situation.
Some Additional Advice
Other than the steps indicated above, there are additional actions you can take to strengthen your case:
Keep a Record or Tangible Proof, If Any
Keeping a record can be as simple as writing down every instance of bullying, discrimination and harassment, including the time, date, witnesses and perpetrators. If you have tangible proof like online conversations, be sure to keep a copy of them, too.
These records and proof will be beneficial, especially when you file a complaint with the Fair Work Commission or seek legal assistance.
Be Familiar with Workplace Policies
Arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. For instance, you should get a copy and familiarise yourself with your contract or enterprise agreement, as well as workplace policies and procedures.
Assert your right to a safe work environment and fair procedures by lodging a complaint against the perpetrator and their actions. If you’re experiencing mistreatment at work, seek assistance.
Saines Legal is a full-service employment law firm committed to providing employment relationship management, employment law litigation, workplace health and transactional services personalised to each of our client’s needs. If you are experiencing workplace discrimination, we can help assert your legal rights. One of our workplace lawyers in Brisbane will assist you and ensure you receive what you’re entitled to. Get in touch with us today.