Documenting Discrimination at Work
It might seem like you have enough document management tasks to do at work without adding another, but if you are concerned about discrimination in the workplace then the first step to changing the situation is to document what is happening. Putting in writing your own thoughts and observations, and possibly those of others who also experience or witness discrimination, will help you create a record of discrimination in the workplace. According to various aspects of employment law, discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation are all illegal. To help regain your equal rights, don’t ignore discrimination but rather document it to help eliminate it later.
Discrimination and Document ManagementDocumenting discrimination in the workplace can be as easy as keeping a separate diary and writing down where and when discrimination occurred as well as what happened, who was involved and who might also act as a witness. However, document management requires that you not only keep documents but have a system for organising and using them. Some people prefer to keep their diary with them at all times (under lock and key!), while others might find themselves writing notes on a napkin and sticking it in a desk drawer. While your writing choices are always up to you, make sure that you do put your thoughts into writing. Then do your best to organise these papers into chronological or thematic order so that if or when you need to refer to them at a later date you can depend upon your document management system to help you find what you are looking for quickly and efficiently. This also holds true for transcripts of any tapes that you might make and hard copies of emails or photographs that you may take.
Employment Law and DiscriminationDifferent types of discrimination in the workplace are outlawed by different laws in the United Kingdom. If you are concerned about discrimination in the workplace, ask a Human Resources officer for more information about employment law or consider contacting an experienced solicitor in the field. These individuals will also be able to guide you in your documentation of the discrimination (particularly regarding sensitive data, tapes or photographs) and offer you advice on how to proceed if you do want to bring a case against an employer.
Confronting Discrimination on Your OwnWhen one worker’s equal rights are violated then all workers’ equal rights are violated. If you experience or witness discrimination in the workplace then you might be motivated to confront the situation on your own. First and foremost make sure that you can remain calm during the interaction and that you will not endanger yourself or others by speaking up. For example, telling a friend that a racist joke about a co-worker is not funny may be very easy to do, and to document with a quick note, but approaching a large group of superiors and yelling at them about undocumented yet alleged systemic discrimination may not be safe or smart. Instead, keeping track of incidents with your document management system will help you organise your information and call for a more formal proceeding to discuss what is happening with the appropriate people.
Documenting discrimination in the workplace may seem tricky, but it can be as simple as keeping private notes about incidents and/or comments that you believe are inappropriate. When you feel the time is right, consider asking for more information about employment law from your employer’s Human Resources office or from an experienced solicitor. Both of these contacts should be able to help you progress with your complaints in the most efficient manner.