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Has your work environment become hostile?

When you first felt uncomfortable at work, you may have tried to shake it off and forget the incident ever happened. After all (or so you told yourself) most California workplaces include some people whose senses of humor are a bit skewed. Everything seemed okay, until it happened again, and again. Before long, each time you encountered a particular official at work, your stomach knotted and you felt like you might become ill.

There may even have been a few times when you went home early after reporting that you felt ill. Workplace discrimination is no small matter. Not only can it destroy your career but it can have extremely adverse effects on your physical and emotional health as well.

How to recognize the signs

Workplace discrimination is not always immediately apparent. Once you realize you are being victimized, you may feel isolated and alone in your struggle. Chances are, however, that others may also be experiencing similar problems in your work environment. The following list provides information to help alert you to possible workplace discrimination situations:

  • Did you previously enjoy going to work and was the atmosphere in your workplace generally positive with amicable cooperation between coworkers? Did all that change when a new boss came on board? If team morale is at an all-time low, there may be cause to suspect workplace discrimination.
  • Has your boss tried to gloss over your complaints that his or her sense of humor and inappropriate comments disturb you? Not only is this unacceptable behavior from a company official, it may be grounds for filing a formal complaint.
  • If your employers are spending tons of money on morale boosting and team building events, it may be a sign that something is going on behind the scenes, such as an attempt to overcome workplace discrimination problems.
  • If several of your colleagues recently quit for no apparent reason, it may be a sign that they too were suffering discrimination in the workplace.

It's one thing to recognize possible workplace discrimination when you see it. It's quite another to know what to do about it. In fact, many California workers hesitate to take any action at all for fear of negative repercussions that may wind up making matters worse. It's important to remember that the law provides means to fight against unlawful treatment in the workplace.

A good place to start to seek recovery is to speak with others who have gone through similar experiences. There may be groups in your area where you can tap into encouragement and support. You can also speak with someone who has successfully represented others in workplace discrimination situations in court.

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