Civil Rights at the Workplace

Every employee has the right to perform their job duties without having their civil rights violated.  However, it can still happen sometimes.  Individuals who have had their civil rights violated in the workplace should know the 5 steps for filing a complaint at work.

Step 1 - Document Exactly What Happened

The first step for filing a civil rights complaint in the workplace is to write down exactly what happened.  Take notes that describe how your civil rights were violated, by whom and what took place during the incident or incidents.  It’s better to do this right after the incident so your memory is at its best.

Step 2 - Speak with Your Employer

If it was your direct supervisor that violated your rights, go to his or her supervisor.  You need to explain exactly what happened and how your civil rights were violated.  Your employer should be able to give you some insight into the rules and consequences of violating an individual’s civil rights in the workplace.  He or she should also speak with the individual who is in the wrong.

Step 3 - File a Complaint with the Union

If your workplace is part of the Union, you should ask to speak to your Union representative.  It’s often possible to file a complaint with the Union if your civil rights has been violated at work.  If your workplace is not part of the Union, contact a civil rights group and file a grievance with them.

Step 4 - Continue to Perform Your Job

Continue to perform your job up to your supervisor’s expectations, unless there is a reason you are unable to – for instance, if the civil rights violation were so horrendous that you would feel threatened or unsafe to return to work.  Give your supervisor no reason to punish you or fire you.

Step 5 - File a Complaint with the EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission exists to protect individuals and their civil rights in the workplace.  File a complaint and wait to receive permission to sue the workplace if no action has been taken against the harasser.  It is advisable to speak with an attorney at this time as well, so that your full rights can be revealed to you.

No one should have their civil rights compromised in the workplace and by using the 5 steps above, you can protect your rights and enforce them.