By Jack Tuckner, Esq.
Way back in 1955, Rosa Parks refused the bus driver’s order to go to the back of the bus. She wasn’t an immediate civil rights icon – she was dragged off the bus and jailed. Similarly, and not quite as dramatically, if you’re being discriminated against in the workplace – any kind of disparate treatment based on your sex, pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, unequal pay, based on your disability, or your age, or your race and color, or your ethnicity, any kind of discriminatory treatment is prohibited under federal law and no doubt your state’s human rights anti-discrimination statute. And, if you’re experiencing differential treatment and hostility, you must complain about it. That’s what the laws say. You have to give your company the opportunity to investigate your protected civil rights complaint.
Hence, the Rosa Parks moment – standing up for yourself – so that they can investigate it and correct it. And what they’re not allowed to do, and this is key – is subject you to backlash that’s known as illegal retaliation, if the backlash is on account of your complaint. So, of course if you’re worried about, “Well, if I complain about how my boss is treating me, they’ll definitely fire me.” Well, if you can go along to get along and keep your head down and continue to put up with it, knock yourself out.
But if you’re tired of it, if they fire you after you complain of sexual harassment or discriminatory treatments, it’s illegal. So, have a paper trail. If you’re going to have your Rosa Parks moment, make it count. Make sure you document, document, document the complaint, and all follow up to the boss, to the HR department. Whatever happens, put it in writing. Hold their feet to the fire. Stand up for yourself. The Rosa Parks moment, Circa 2018 in the workplace.
And if you need any help, you need back up with your particular discrimination complaint, feel free to give me a shout, and we’ll brainstorm about it. Don’t give up. Stand up for yourself, stand up for your right to be equal in your workplace.