[This article was written by Anita Ginsburg.]
As much as we don’t want to admit it, discrimination still exists. Sadly, when it comes to discrimination in the workplace, it’s even more prevalent. Whether it’s about race or gender, the way you handle discrimination complaints does make a difference.
If you work in HR and aren’t sure how to handle discrimination complaints, you’re not alone. Read on to learn the right way to handle gender discrimination complaint in the workplace.
When an employee comes to you with discrimination complaints, you need to listen with compassion. It’s not easy for someone to come to you and accuse a colleague or supervisor of discrimination. The fear of not being believed or even being fired is real, so you need to let them know that you are there for them. Listen to what they have to say and give the necessary support to make them feel at ease.
Don’t Lay Blame
In addition to having an open mind, you must never blame the victim. It’s your job to follow up on any accusations of discrimination, which also means you need to be familiar with gender discrimination law as well. It’s not their fault this occurred, and they need to feel protected by you.
Don’t Punish the Innocent
Retaliating against someone who has filed a discrimination complaint is illegal. Forms of retaliation include threats of demotion or termination and reductions in pay. Some of the less obvious forms of getting even include a reduction in hours, longer hours or isolation from other employees.
Most organizations have an employee handbook, which clearly states the appropriate steps to take in cases of discrimination. It’s your job to enforce and follow this protocol to ensure proper action is taken.
Work with the Authorities
Depending on where you work, the victim may file a formal complaint with a government agency. If this is the case, you need to be willing to work with them towards a resolution. Federal agencies will request documentation to support, so you’re required to provide evidence to back your employee’s claim.
Gender discrimination can happen to anyone, regardless of workplace. Swift intervention and gathering of facts is the key to an expedited resolution. If you’re not sure of what steps to take, you might need the help of an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the murky waters of discrimination.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.