Reporting racial discrimination in the workplace

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Posted at 7:08 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 19:08:05-04

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – McDonalds, Coca Cola, Home Depot, Gap, Netflix, Etsy, Target, Wendy’s, Walmart … these are just a few of the companies that have committed to supporting the Black Lives Matter initiative—confronting racism head on. But no doubt about it, racial discrimination in the workplace happens every day. 25 percent of all complaints filed to the equal employment opportunity commission in the past ten years came from black employees alleging racial discrimination, proving that even though it’s illegal, it’s all too common. So, what can you do? An expert has the answers when reporting racism at work.
It can be subtle and not so subtle. Racism at work can impact a person’s performance, promotions, and paycheck. Specialist in Employment Law Bertha Burruezo says gathering evidence is key. “If it's not documented, then it didn't happen,” said Burruezo.
Keep a record of face-to-face conversations, detailing what was said, if anyone else heard, and if you told anyone about it. Take photos of anything physically posted. Print out copies of written letters or emails. If it’s a text message, take a screen shot. Don’t record conversations. It could be illegal. And don’t use company computers or phones to document it on. There is no expectation of privacy when using your employer’s software or hardware. Report it to human services, but beware there is a risk. In some cases … “You get your hours cut or they make your life miserable,” said Burruezo.
Also ask yourself ... “What is it that you want to accomplish? Do you want to quietly move on with your life and just move on to another job? If so, then perhaps going to HR isn't the right decision,” said Burruezo. Remember, these cases can take two to three years to resolve.
If you want to pursue the case further, contact a lawyer versed in employee rights. Another tip—identify a co-worker who does work similar to you, is racially different, and compare how they are treated at work. And remember, each state has their own protections against discrimination. Be sure to check with a lawyer in your state to see if you have a case.
Contributor(s) to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Bob Walko, Videographer and Editor.
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