Solving your employment Problems

How to use your email to fight workplace discrimination

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Workplace discrimination |

You know that you’re the target of discrimination by your team leader, manager or employer – but the other parties involved in this situation are being careful. They’re working hard to avoid a “paper trial” that could come back to haunt them, so most of what they’ve had to say has been conveyed verbally.

You need to work equally as hard to make sure that your conversations are documented so that you can protect your interests. This is where your email comes in. 

You can document verbal communications 

You don’t have to wait for your boss to put things in writing when you can do it yourself. Open your email and create a professional – but clear – “memorandum of understanding” after every verbal encounter. Their response (or lack of response) can be useful if you eventually find yourself pursuing a discrimination claim.

Here are some tips for success:

  • Make sure that you include a date in the body of the email so that it is clear exactly when the conversation took place and it’s harder to dispute. 
  • Be as dry and factual as possible. Do not include your personal thoughts on the situation and do not comment on the fairness or unfairness of anything or the manner in which anything was said. For example, instead of saying, “Alice snapped at me, saying..,” say, “Alice then stated…”
  • Include a summary of the issues that were discussed and what you were told. For example, if you asked for a reasonable accommodation for your pregnancy and you were summarily denied, you can say something like, “I requested a stool for my workstation because of swelling in my legs and Ben informed me he did not believe it was necessary and I am not to use the one I have any further.”
  • Make sure you mention any action plans or agreements (or the lack of those things). For example, “Although my work has not changed, Charles informed me that there is growing dissatisfaction with my output and that I will be moved to a different position if my work does not improve. I requested specific guidelines to follow but those have not been provided as of this date.”

Despite all the gains workers have made over the years, discrimination is still a problem. It affects people of color, pregnant workers, workers with disabilities and more. If you find yourself struggling with workplace discrimination, it may be time to seek legal guidance.