Like most workers in Oregon and beyond, you understand that there's basically no such thing as a perfect workplace. You've worked for several different employers throughout your career and can probably list pros and cons about each experience. Since you've been working at the same company for quite a while now, you thought things were going as well as can be expected, that is, until you began noticing several issues that raised concerns about possible workplace discrimination.
When your boss recently bypassed you for a big promotion (one that you and your colleagues assumed you were first in line to receive) it raised your suspicions even further as to whether there might be more than meets the eye at play. Proving workplace discrimination can be quite a challenge but is very possible if you know your rights and where to seek support to fight your battles.
How does the law define discrimination in the workplace?
As you think back on your time with the current company where you're employed, you may be able to recall when you first started feeling like something just wasn't right. Still, just because you don't get along with your boss or a co-worker doesn't necessarily mean you have grounds to file a discrimination complaint. The following list includes information to help you determine whether your situation falls under the legal parameters that define discrimination in the workplace:
- Work-related issues: A basic starting point to determine whether someone at work is discriminating against you is whether the issues at hand are work related. In other words, if you run into your boss at a local pub and he or she is rude to you, this may not necessarily be grounds for a workplace discrimination complaint. People often act differently at work than in their personal lives. To file a discrimination complaint, the issues at hand must specifically relate to your work or work environment.
- Hostility: Behavior that causes you to suffer discrimination includes any frequent or pervasive actions that make it difficult for you to function at work. This creates a hostile work environment and it is often associated with workplace discrimination.
- Overt or subtle actions: Some forms of workplace discrimination are quite obvious, such as if someone repeatedly makes racial slurs against you or tells you that you do not qualify for a particular opportunity because of your race, age, religion, etc.
Generally speaking, if you believe you suffered unfair treatment regarding hiring, firing, wages, benefits, bonuses, promotions or other specific work-related situations, you may indeed have grounds for a workplace discrimination complaint. It's always best to document any and all evidence to substantiate such a claim rather than merely assume discrimination has fueled a particular behavior. By reporting your situation and taking specific steps to address the matter head-on, you can defend your employment rights and rectify discrimination problems at work.