If you are experiencing harassment or discrimination in your workplace, you may be wondering whether you should speak up or not. Some employees in this situation decide to stay quiet because they believe that the consequences of speaking up will outweigh the benefits.
While there are many reasons why employees decide not to say anything about a situation, reporting harassment and discrimination at work can be a very constructive step not only for you but also for your fellow co-workers.
Fear of employer retaliation
One of the main reasons employees choose not to speak up about workplace discrimination is because they fear possible retaliation by their employer. This could include consequences such as increased discrimination, demotion or even termination. Wrongful termination can take place based on discriminatory factors or also for employee whistle-blowing.
It is not legal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who reports harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Therefore, the fear of retaliation, while often justified, should not be a deterrent if there is just cause for seeking a solution to workplace harassment.
Human resources an ineffective advocate
Another reason employees may not speak up in these situations is because they may feel or have evidence that their company's human resources department is ineffectual or unwilling to assist them in resolving the problem. In fact, human resources is not always the best place for an employee to turn when he or she is seeking a resolution to workplace harassment and discrimination.
If your company's human resources is not willing to provide you with a satisfactory resolution to your complaint, you should consider filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This government agency investigates reports of discrimination and harassment and may provide you with information to help you decide your next course of action.