Under employment law in Georgia and across the U.S., discrimination in the workplace is illegal. You might be surprised at some of the things that don’t actually count as discrimination, but that’s a topic for another time.
For now, you just need to understand that while discrimination is unlawful, it’s also very difficult to prove. In fact, in most cases, it’s easier to prove that your employer retaliated against you for reporting on discrimination than it is to prove the initial discrimination.
With all that said, if you believe that you’ve been discriminated against by your employer or by one or more colleagues, there are a few common mistakes you should absolutely avoid. These things may be understandable, but they can do serious damage to your case.
So, as you consider calling an Atlanta employment law attorney, keep in mind a few things NOT to do in the process.
Employer Discrimination Mistake #1: Not Reporting the Issue
First and foremost, you should go through the proper channels. If you have an employee handbook, find your employer’s policy on reporting discrimination and other issues to HR. Follow this policy and report on the issue as soon as possible. Waiting or failing to report will greatly weaken your case. And, when you do report, make it clear that you are reporting discrimination.
Employer Discrimination Mistake #2: Failing to Create a Paper Trail
In addition to reporting your issue, you should also make sure that there is as much recorded documentation of the problem as possible. It’s difficult to prove that someone made a discriminatory comment that no one else heard, but it’s much easier to prove your case for discrimination if you have a documented history of the issue.
Employer Discrimination Mistake #3: Demanding Results Right Now
You shouldn’t have to put up with discrimination or retaliation, but you also need to understand that action takes time. Whether you’re dealing with an issue with a colleague or a problem with your employer that requires help from an employment law attorney in Atlanta, you cannot expect immediate results. Give your HR team time to investigate the problem. Talk with your employment attorney, and let them guide you in this process.
Employer Discrimination Mistake #4: Retaliating
We all know how frustrating these situations can be, and it can be tempting to take matters into your own hands. But remember, retaliation can land you in massive legal trouble. If you steal company property, create a hostile work environment, or otherwise act inappropriately, you may be terminated or worse. And, as Georgia is an employment-at-will state, your employer doesn’t even need to give a reason to fire you. Be very careful in how you conduct yourself when reporting on and pursuing a discrimination case. Do not create a legal reason for the employer to terminate you.
Employer Discrimination Mistake #5: Quitting
Along the same lines, unless you are in a completely untenable situation, don’t quit unceremoniously. If you can continue to work for your employer while you work with an Atlanta employment law attorney, you should. Don’t take any drastic steps without measured legal counsel. Quitting can cost you valuable legal rights, from possible retaliation claims to unemployment benefits.
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Employer Discrimination Mistake #6: Going it Alone
Finally, discrimination cases are challenging. And we all know that whistleblowers are often raked over the coals. Don’t go it alone. Talk with an experienced Atlanta employment law attorney today.
At Ben Barrett Law, we’re here for you. Call us today at (404)845-7449 to discuss your case.