You may have witnessed people experiencing discrimination or harassment on the job. Perhaps it has even happened to you. Maybe you’ve missed out on a promotion because of your age, for example, or perhaps you’ve been mistreated because of your gender.
When it happens, you know instinctively that it’s wrong and that it violates your rights. It’s not just an ethical issue, but a legal one. Employers are not allowed to treat employees this way, and those employees deserve a far better working environment. So why is it that many of these employees don’t speak out?
They’re afraid of retaliation
Perhaps the biggest reason that people give is simply that they’re afraid of the retaliation that they’re going to face. A worker may believe that they’re being treated poorly because of their religion, but they’re worried that speaking up is just going to make that treatment worse or even cause them to lose their job.
It is worth noting that firing someone in retaliation is also illegal, so this would be a wrongful termination. But this is still a concern for workers who don’t want to miss their paycheck and need to know that they can make ends meet.
Additionally, workers are often worried that they will hinder their career prospects. Someone who wants to climb the corporate ladder may not want to bring up issues of sexual harassment involving their boss, for example, because they see that person as the one who holds the key to their future career. They don’t want to jeopardize that relationship.
You do have legal protections
If you’ve been feeling this way, you can see just how natural and understandable it is. But rest assured that you do have legal protections as a worker, and you need to know what steps to take.