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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that in 2020 there were 67,448 charges of workplace discrimination with 32% based on sex and 33% based on race.  If you encounter discrimination at work it is important to know your rights.

What is Employment Discrimination?

According to the Human Rights Commission, discrimination is treating, or proposing to treat, someone unfavorably because of a personal characteristic These characteristics include sex, race, color, national origin, and religion which are all protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Know Your Rights

  • Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
  • Employees who report discrimination and/or participate in an employee discrimination investigation are protected from retaliation under the Act.
  • Employees are protected from discrimination at ALL stages of employment including recruitment.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself:

  1. Review Your Employer Procedures. Make sure you look at your employee manual and get a copy. Consider contacting the person or office who may have been designated by your employer to receive such complaints, such as Human Resources.
  2. Make Sure You Document What is Happening. Write down dates and details of any instances of discrimination and your report of discrimination, note any witnesses, and save all of your own copies of any emails, texts, or any other evidence of misconduct in your personal files, away from your worksite. During and after a report, it is also important to safeguard and document your productivity at work.
  3. Consult an Attorney. Beyond reporting discrimination to your employer, there is not one right answer about how to proceed. It is wise to consult an attorney who can explain all of the available options. Note that there are deadlines for filing a complaint under federal, state, and city laws prohibiting discrimination.