While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
If you are having an issue with discrimination in the workplace, you may be thinking about contacting the human resources department at your company. Although this is a natural inclination, there are many problems with doing this. It is quite possible that you could make matters worse. However, there is no reason to ignore discrimination in the workplace. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, racial or ethnic discrimination, or severe bullying, then you should consult with an attorney. The following are a few problems with going straight to human resources.
A human resources department is not on your side
Those working in human resources are employees of the company, and they exist to do what is in the interest of the company. This is not always the same as what is in your interest. They may do an investigation, but with an eye on corporate liability rather than on a solution to the problem. If there is not enough evidence of your complaint, they may believe that the company does not need to take any action.
A human resources department will not be confidential
Although they say that your complaint will remain confidential, this is not always true. For one, they are trying to keep the employees in harmony with the company. The moment you have a complaint, you have disrupted this harmony. You may be seen as a troublemaker, someone who is not a part of the company's mission, or even someone who may disrupt the workplace environment by stirring up trouble with other workers. In the short term, your complaint may seem confidential, but they are going to investigate your complaint, and one or more of your coworkers will know. They may even tell the person you are complaining about that you made the complaint.
A human resources department doesn't know employment law
Granted, there may be a general understanding about a handful of regulations, but they are not attorneys, so you will not be given the best advice. Legal advice can only come from an attorney. Employees in the human resources department have a skill set that relates directly to serving the interests of the company.
If you are being discriminated against at work, you may want to complain to the human resources department, but they are not working in your interest, nor will they be confidential. It is a discrimination attorney that can give you the best advice. There is a good chance that an attorney will want you to contact human resources, but it is likely to be your first step towards a lawsuit, and an attorney will want you to do it the right way.
To learn more, contact a discrimination attorney.