It is important to speak up against workplace discrimination whether you yourself are the victim or you witness an act of discrimination. Two reasons to take this important step include:
You can be the change
Racial, gender, or religious biases remain a problem within our society. Calling out a poor joke, statement, or action within the workplace can help build a more equitable work culture. Although you may initially feal isolated when you first take that step, you may realize you are not a lone voice within your workplace. Speaking up may lend others the courage to join in and speak out against poor treatment they experience or witness within the workplace.
There are many ways to speak up. A group of women at Nike, for example, presented the results of an anonymous survey to their CEO showing women working at Nike felt the organization marginalized, disrespected, and discriminated against them because of their gender. The information led to a wave of change including the replacement of a number of executives.
The law is on your side
It is not easy to stand up and challenge what may feel like a discriminatory workplace status quo, but laws are present to help protect those who are the victims of discrimination. Federal laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Civil Rights Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act are just a few. In addition to these federal laws there are also state and local regulations that offer protection. Whistleblowers, those who take a step forward and call out illegal behavior, are also protected from retaliation.
No matter what type of discrimination you are facing, you have a right to take action and put an end to it. An experienced employment law attorney can help you to evaluate your options and decide on a course of action.