Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy

Providing Tailored Guidance For Your Legal Needs

Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy
Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy

The 5 Ws in documenting workplace discrimination

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2023 | Workplace Discrimination |

Unfortunately, discrimination remains a pervasive problem in many workplaces worldwide, often resulting in adverse outcomes such as lost opportunities, decreased job satisfaction, and even termination.

Documenting workplace discrimination is crucial to addressing the issue and creating a fair and inclusive work environment. When it comes to documenting it, consider the five Ws.

Who should document discrimination in the workplace?

Employers must have a clear policy on reporting and documenting workplace discrimination, including the confidentiality of the information and the process of investigations.

In most cases, the human resource department ensures that this policy is upheld and that all discriminatory behaviors are overseen and addressed. They are also in charge of filing the reports appropriately. However, employees would be wise to keep their personal documentation of what is happening to them.

What information can be collected?

Documentation can take various forms. Written records of discriminatory comments, incidents, or actions are good examples. Usually, in an office set-up, they are found in emails, memos or meeting minutes.

Information about the affected employees, such as their job roles, demographics and the frequency of the incidents, may also be good sources of information.

Where to keep the information?

If there is any physical or digital evidence, such as emails or messages, employees should save them for future reference. However, make sure they’re in a safe place, not using company resources. Find an accessible location away from parties who might destroy or misuse it. There are tools widely available nowadays, such as smartphones.

What happens with the documentation?

In an ideal work setting, employers should respond appropriately once a person presents their documentation. These complaints should be taken seriously, investigated diligently and followed up accordingly.

If an employer refuses to acknowledge the existence of discrimination in the workplace, the employee will have concrete evidence that may support their claims.

Why do employees need to do this?

Documenting workplace discrimination is an essential tool for organizations to identify trends, patterns, and areas of improvement to mitigate and prevent future incidents. But more importantly for employees, documentation may help build a case in the event of legal action.