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What to Do if You’ve Been Discriminated Against

| November 20, 2020

All employees understand that it is illegal for their employer to discriminate or tolerate discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sex, religion, disability, age, or other classifications. Unfortunately, not very many people know what to do when they suspect that they are victims of discrimination. Filing a complaint can be difficult, and people are often afraid of risking their livelihood. If you believe that you are being discriminated against or harassed at work, a Maryland employment lawyer can help you navigate the situation and protect yourself. 

Control Your Emotions

It can be extremely upsetting when someone discriminates against you, provoking anger, frustration, and even sadness. Unfortunately, these emotions can cloud your judgment and undermine your ability to take deliberate action. Even worse, you may lash out or do something else that erodes your credibility or even jeopardizes your employment. 

Instead, it is critical to master your emotions and take stock of the situation as objectively as possible. If you are being discriminated against, you will need to be able to prove your claim. This will require careful documentation of the objective facts. As difficult as it may be, try to keep your emotions from clouding the reality of the situation. 

Keep a Written Record

As just mentioned, you need to document the instances in which have been discriminated against. Keep careful notes regarding the date, time, and place where the incidents occurred and identify anyone who may be a witness. You should also include a brief description of what happened during the incident in question. If there is tangible evidence of discrimination (such as notes, symbols, or other items), keep them all together.

Review Your Company’s Anti-Discrimination Policy

Many businesses have written anti-discrimination policies that clarify what will be considered discriminatory, how to proceed with a complaint, and what action will be taken by the company. Reviewing this policy before filing your complaint signals to your employer that you are taking this matter very seriously and expecting them to do the same. It also can give your complaint credibility when you follow the steps laid out in the policy. 

Inform Your Employer

As difficult as it may be, you need to inform your employer that you believe you have been discriminated against or harassed. Typically, this involves going to HR. If that isn’t an option, you should report it to someone who has management responsibility and was not involved in the accident. You should provide as much detail as possible. If you make your complaint in person, you should follow up in writing so that there is a written record that you informed them of the discrimination. Ask your employer for a copy of any report they prepare, and request that they investigate your claim and take the appropriate disciplinary or corrective action. 

Consult with a Maryland Employment Lawyer

If your employer fails to investigate or take any action regarding your complaint, the next step is to begin considering your options outside of your company. You have rights under a variety of state and federal laws that protect employees against discrimination. However, knowing which law applies to your case or which avenue is best is not easy to determine. An experienced Maryland employment lawyer can help in the following ways: 

  • They can evaluate your case and determine whether you have a claim.
  • They can help you understand your legal options.
  • They can help you navigate the complaint process.
  • They can protect you from retaliation or get you compensation if you are fired.

To be clear, you are not required to hire an attorney to pursue a discrimination claim. However, a Maryland employment lawyer can provide valuable guidance that can save you time and resources, in addition to helping you resolve the matter as quickly as possible. 

Your Remedies

If your claim is successful, you may be entitled to compensation and other remedies. Generally speaking, anti-discrimination laws aim to make victims whole, which is to say that any compensation you receive is intended to return you to the position you would be in had the discrimination never occurred. 

  • Your employer may be ordered to halt any discriminatory practices, reinstate you to your former position, or take other actions to prohibit future discrimination. 
  • If you were terminated or your employment was otherwise impacted, your employer may be ordered to pay you compensation for any lost wages or other related expenses. 
  • Your employer may be ordered to pay you compensation for any emotional distress you suffered. 
  • Your employer may be ordered to pay punitive damages. 

An experienced Maryland employment lawyer can help you formulate your claim and get you a fair result. 

Discuss Your Situation With a Maryland Employment Lawyer Today

Maryland employment lawyer J. W. Stafford has extensive experience helping people who are the victims of compensation. If you’ve suffered from workplace discrimination, we can help – call us at 410-514-6099 or contact us online to discuss your case today.