The state of California has multiple laws that forbid workplace discrimination. It’s your co-workers’ responsibility to avoid engaging in discrimination or harassment, but it’s also your employer’s responsibility to stop discrimination before it starts. If they’re not doing that, they might be equally responsible.
How can employers prevent discrimination?
Your employer can’t control everything that your co-workers do in the workplace, but they can make it clear that they won’t tolerate workplace discrimination. Employers should model good behavior by never engaging in discrimination or harassment themselves and shutting it down if their workers start.
Your employer should also make it clear that discrimination comes with consequences. They should outline the punishments for verified cases of discrimination and encourage their employees to come forward with reports. You know you’re working for a good company if you feel comfortable providing feedback about workplace issues. If you feel like HR ignores your concerns, they might not be dealing with the issue appropriately.
Some employees might claim that they’re exercising their “freedom of speech” when they use slurs and insults. Your employer should point out that freedom of speech doesn’t give anyone the right to harass their co-workers or make racially charged comments in the workplace. Ultimately, your employer has the responsibility to prevent all forms of discrimination. If they don’t, it might be time to hire a discrimination attorney.
What counts as workplace discrimination?
Workplace discrimination involves targeting or harassing someone over a government-protected factor like their age, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. Your co-workers might be responsible, but your employer might also be liable if they knew about the situation and didn’t do anything about it. No matter where you work, every employee should feel comfortable in their workplace. An attorney may help you file a lawsuit if your workplace perpetuates a toxic work environment.