Fears about revealing workplace discrimination are understandable because the situation involves a power imbalance, but the law protects workers.
Here are some reasons why it is crucial that you speak up if you experience or witness discriminatory behaviors in your workplace.
1. Silence causes more long-term damage for you and others
While the decision to remain quiet may seem like a smart one in the immediate future, the longer you stay quiet about workplace discrimination, the more it can fester and erode the organization from within. Your silence is like an implicit consent for the behavior taking place, and the lack of your voice allows the behavior to continue.
2. The law protects your rights
One of the most common fears that employees report as to why they remain silent is that they fear employer retaliation in the form of more discrimination, or even termination. The law recognizes this risk and therefore can protect you against it. Employers are not legally permitted to retaliate against you for reporting any form of harassment in the workplace. If they do, they can face legal consequences.
3. You can advance in your career
While it may sound counterintuitive, speaking up about workplace discrimination can actually pave the way for a more successful career. If you choose to stay at your job, those in a position of power to do so will be able to face the problem of discriminatory behavior and find solutions to prevent it and eliminate it, thus making the workplace a safe place for employees.
If you choose to move to a different position at a new job, you will have emboldened your voice and your ability to speak up on your behalf to promote the values that should characterize every workplace. These qualities are attractive to employers and will serve you well in your profession.