How is Human Resources Supposed to Handle Discrimination? - Barrett & Farahany

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How is Human Resources Supposed to Handle Discrimination?

How is Human Resources Supposed to Handle Discrimination?

human resources

“Human resources is not your friend.” This has become a common adage in employment law, and it’s important to know why people feel this way about human resources.

Human resources, or HR, is a department within mid-to-large-sized businesses. People who work in HR typically deal with employee-focused issues and tasks, such as hiring, administration, and training.

Issues, such as workplace discrimination, fall under HR’s administrative duties. The workplace discrimination attorneys at Barrett & Farahany can explain everything you need to know about HR departments.

What is the Goal of Human Resources?

As an employee, you are told to go to the human resources department if there is a problem. These problems include misconduct such as discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and more. This has convinced many people that HR departments will do their best to respond to the issue so it doesn’t happen again.

This can happen but often does not. To understand why, it’s important to understand the true goal of an HR department: to protect the company. This means that HR will recommend or act in a way that reduces risk for the company. Protecting employees comes second, if at all.

If disciplinary action is the best way to reduce risk, then they recommend disciplinary action. However, it´s usually not the best way to reduce risk.

How Do HR Managers Typically Reduce Risk to the Company?

In our experience, HR handles discrimination and similar issues by keeping them quiet and unknown to the public. Disciplining problematic employees, managers, or execs can be seen as far too risky to the company’s performance and image. Problematic employees perceived to be linked to the company’s success are even protected by the company in some situations.

HR can cover up issues with seminars, workshops, reprimanding, and recommendations that do not address the source of the problem. Human resources commonly respond so employees feel like HR is fixing the problem. In reality, in many cases, they don’t provide any real incentive for bad behaviors to stop.

When this is the case, the victims can feel unheard, especially when the discrimination, retaliation, and harassment continue.

Why Should Employees Still Report Issues to Human Resources?

No record is ever truly gone in a digital workplace. Physical incident reports can be shredded, but an email is incredibly difficult to delete. Now, if you send an email reporting your experience of workplace discrimination, workplace retaliation, or workplace harassment, your employer has it on record.

Consider this situation to understand why it’s important for your employer to have this incident on record. After human resources fails to respond to your complaint, you can file a lawsuit and/or report this incident to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with the help of an attorney. After this, the defendant (your employer) would have your statement and a record that is unremovable on file.

In many cases, the best defense an employer can have against claims of workplace discrimination may be that they were unaware. With electronic records, you can prove that they did know by sending them an official email. You will also have a record of their response or lack of response.

While it is important to give your employer the chance to fix the situation, it’s important to reign in your expectations. Assuming your safety isn’t in danger, it’s most important to make sure your employer has a record of your incident in case they do not take action.

What Should You Do If Human Resources Fails to Effectively Respond to Workplace Discrimination?

If your employer’s human resources department fails to respond to your problem appropriately, you need legal representation. Do not suffer in silence. Your employer is legally required to protect you from discrimination and harassment from other employees and customers. If they do not, they are liable, and you deserve compensation.

You should keep a record of your incident report to human resources, and contact one of our attorneys. Together, we can file with the EEOC so that they can conduct an official investigation. Waiting to file a lawsuit against your employer or file a lawsuit alongside the EEOC, is something we can discuss during consultation. Contact Barrett & Farahany’s employment law attorneys today to schedule an appointment.

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