Why don’t employees report discrimination in the workplace?

woman being yelled at by two men

Like most people, you likely want to do your job to the best of your abilities and go home. Unfortunately for many workers across the United States, this is far from the truth. Many employees report facing discrimination in their place of employment. However, it’s important to understand that the statistics and data will not always be accurate, as many workers are afraid to report discrimination they face to their employer or the state agencies in place to investigate these acts. If you are a victim of workplace discrimination, you’ll want to keep reading to learn more about what behavior constitutes discrimination, why some employees don’t report it, and why it’s in your best interest to connect with a Pennsylvania employment rights lawyer.

Why don’t employees always report discrimination?

Unfortunately, there are several reasons that victims of discrimination do not report their experiences. Generally, anytime someone in the workplace is harassed, bullied, mocked, teased, or treated differently than others based on their status as a member of a protected class, it constitutes discrimination. This includes race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, and religion. Additionally, this discrimination can stem from co-workers, managers, or leadership. In some instances, if facing discrimination by a customer or outside party but your employer does not take steps to remedy the issue, they can be held responsible.

One of the most common reasons is for fear of retaliation. Many employees live paycheck to paycheck or rely heavily on the income earned from their job to make ends meet, let alone spend money on things other than basic needs. As such, they fear filing a report will have them fired, demoted, or given fewer shifts. It is critical to understand that retaliation against an employee who files a discrimination report is also prohibited under the law.

Another common reason workers may not report discrimination is because they believe they won’t have enough evidence to bring forth a case against their employer. However, instances of microaggressions, harassment, bullying, offensive jokes, or intimidation related to their status as a protected class can all be used to help show that their employer is committing or fostering an environment where discrimination is unchecked. Witness statements, uninvestigated internal reports, text messages, videos, and other evidence can be compiled to help your case.

What should I do if I’m a victim?

If you are a victim of discrimination in the workplace, it’s important to understand that you must first file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days of the incident. If you fail to report the discrimination in this timeframe, you may be barred from recovering justice.

Additionally, you should connect with an experienced lawyer who can help you recover compensation for the damages you may have sustained. This can include economic damages from a demotion or being terminated, while they can also help you fight for damages pertaining to any mental anguish you have experienced as a result.

At Friedan Schuman, our dedicated legal team will do everything possible to assist you during these times. We believe no one should experience harassment or intimidation while trying to earn a living. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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