What To Know About Discrimination And Harassment At Work
If you are wondering whether your employer harassed or discriminated against you in the eyes of the law, you should know your rights. You deserve to feel safe and to be treated fairly at work – no matter who you are.
At Formisano & Company, our employment law attorneys can help you get the information you need to protect yourself and your career. Call us for personalized advice for your situation.
What counts as workplace discrimination?
Discrimination at work can involve several different acts, including:
- Firing or demoting an employee
- Unfairly assigning tasks, such as giving harder or extra tasks to a worker who has a disability to make them “prove” their worth
- Passing up a qualified candidate for a job, promotion or special opportunity
- Denying equipment and resources necessary for the job, including failing to provide reasonable accommodations
- Paying a worker less than their counterparts for similar work
These acts are not always discriminatory by nature. However, they can be signs of discrimination if the motivation is not based on a worker’s merit but rather their protected class, such as age or race.
Can my boss fire me for reporting sexual harassment?
No, it is illegal to fire, demote or otherwise punish a worker for reporting sexual harassment, as long as the worker made the claim in good faith. If an employer retaliates, you have legal options. You do not have to fear losing your job when reporting sexual harassment in the workplace.
Should I report discrimination and harassment to my human resources department?
HR departments serve the employer first and foremost. While the HR representative might be able to resolve the conflict, it is advisable to speak with your own lawyer beforehand. Your lawyer can help protect your rights as your dedicated advocate and strive to get the best outcome possible.
What can I do if HR does not resolve the problem?
Your employer’s HR department is not your only option. Even if it stops the discrimination or harassment, it might not help you recover from any losses you already suffered.
Depending on your case, filing a complaint with the Rhode Island Human Rights Commission or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may be appropriate. These state and federal entities can give you a different opportunity to protect your rights.
Do I have a case?
Every situation is unique. Whether you have a valid legal claim for harassment or discrimination depends on many factors, including not only what was done or said but also what evidence exists to establish that you were unlawfully harassed or discriminated against. An experienced Rhode Island employment law attorney will be able to listen to the facts of your case, apply those facts to the law, and help you determine whether you have a valid case against an employer.