Like all Rhode Island employees, you want to feel safe and valued at your workplace. Unfortunately, people’s prejudices cause mistreatment of workers based on their characteristics. Being the target of negative behavior at work damages your career and mental health.
What is workplace discrimination?
According to state and federal laws enacted to protect people from unfair treatment, discrimination can be based on your:
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
- National origin
Discriminatory behavior can occur between co-workers or be applied by a manager or supervisor against a subordinate. One person might suffer discrimination, or a whole group of similar people at the workplace could be subject to mistreatment. The discrimination could arise from a single person or be driven by a group.
Discrimination may prevent certain people from being hired or prevent them from receiving promotions, appropriate pay or tolerable work schedules. If you complain about mistreatment, it could prompt the employer to retaliate with harsher treatment.
Support for victims of workplace discrimination
The law is on your side when you can successfully document mistreatment and link it to prejudice. Keep any emails or texts sent to you that indicate discrimination. Write down the time and place of each discriminatory act and who perpetuated it and who witnessed it. You must show that the behavior was ongoing.
Most workplaces with at least 15 employees fall under the purview of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may make a complaint to the EEOC, which will look into the matter.
An EEOC investigation could potentially correct the problem. Alternatively, an investigator may conclude that you have a right to sue the employer based on the evidence provided.