Do you think that you were passed over for a promotion because you're a woman? Has your boss started treating you differently after you told him you were pregnant? Are you being sexually harassed? Considering legal action?
Here are some things you need to do to prepare for a possible lawsuit.
1.) Assume that everything you do at work is being watched closely. Try to be a model employee. Don't send any e-mails you wouldn't want your employer to read.
2.) Write an chronology of relevant events with as many details as possible, including:
- the date, time, location, and names of the people who were involved
- what was said, who said it, when and where it was said, and any witnesses
- who was treated better than you were
- any other female employees who were also treated poorly
- any policies or procedures that were not followed
- the reasons given for actions taken against you and how you might be able to prove that they are false.
3.) Print and keep copies of any relevant non-confidential documents, including your employee handbook.
4.) Consider making a complaint to your boss (unless she or he the problem) or HR – this is not required for sex or pregnancy discrimination but may be necessary if you are being sexually harassed. Union employees should seek help from their union.
5.) Consider requesting a copy of your personnel file, which you have a right to do under many state laws.
6.) Keep potential deadlines in mind. Depending on what state you are in and what type of discrimination you are claiming, you may have 180 or 300 days after an adverse employment action to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a state agency. This clock keeps ticking even if you have a complaint or grievance pending at your workplace.
7.) Bring all of the documents you have collected and prepared to a member of the National Employment Lawyers' Association. You can find them at www.nela.org.
You have a right under federal law not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex or pregnancy, and some state laws also prohibit discrimination on the basis of marital or parental status. Following these tips will help to ensure that you are able to enforce your rights in court if it becomes necessary.
For more information, visit Women Employed and Workplace Fairness.