Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

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What to do if you experience workplace discrimination

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2020 | blog

Every year, hundreds of employees in Oregon experience discrimination in the workplace. While some people assume that discrimination only happens in private companies, new research shows that discrimination can happen anywhere — even major government agencies. In a 2018 survey, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) learned that a large percentage of their employees have suffered from discrimination and harassment.

How many FEMA employees reported discrimination or harassment?

The survey revealed that about a fifth of FEMA employees had experienced discrimination or sexual harassment within the past year. Out of those people, only about half reported the incidents. The other employees might have told friends or co-workers about what happened but didn’t report it to management because they feared that nothing would be done.

Unfortunately, the survey revealed that out of the employees who did report the incident, over 40% of them were told to simply drop the issue. Over 30% of employees said that management didn’t address the situation while a smaller percentage of workers said they experienced retaliation. If any of these people had spoken with an attorney, they might have been able to pursue a lawsuit.

The survey also revealed that women and people of color dealt with more discrimination than their Caucasian male counterparts. In fact, men tended to rate the company culture more highly than women. The higher a woman ranked in the company, the more likely she was to experience sexual harassment. In fact, a fourth of women at the highest pay grade reported experiencing some form of harassment. African American employees also reported feeling discriminated against and reported that they didn’t believe their employer would protect them from retaliation.

What can you do if you’ve faced discrimination?

If you believe that you’ve been a victim of discrimination or sexual harassment, you don’t have to quietly leave your position and look for another job. An attorney could help you seek justice by filing a lawsuit against your former employer. If you still work for the company, a lawyer may protect you from acts of retaliation, like harassment or wrongful termination.