What to Do About Employment Discrimination

Responding Effectively to Discrimination and Harassment

You have the right to work in an environment that is free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Evidence of the discrimination, harassment, and retaliation you have endured at work is vital to your case and will be instrumental in achieving a successful result. Although you may feel powerless, there are many actions you can take to help preserve and gather evidence for your attorney.

Ed Fox & Associates, Ltd. is an experienced employment discrimination law firm that fights on behalf of employees who have suffered discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace wrongs. If you have suffered such illegal conduct, the attorneys at Ed Fox & Associates, Ltd. may be able to help you.

Call 312-345-8877 for a free case evaluation, or contact us by email.

If you have suffered discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in the workplace, there are simple steps you can take to preserve your rights:

While You Are Still Employed
  • Get your personnel file - It is very important that you obtain a copy of your personnel file. Under Illinois law, your employer is required to provide you with a copy of your personnel file within seven (7) days of a written request.
  • Collect employee manuals/handbooks - Collect all versions of employee handbooks, including those kept on a company intranet or on the Internet, and ask co-workers for copies they may have. These are often critical to your case.
  • Keep a journal - Maintain a record of dates, times, locations, and witnesses to events that support your claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or other illegal employment actions. Memories fade over time; it is important to have detailed information. For evidence purposes, it is also important that you include the date you made each entry.
  • Download and print your e-mails - Once you have left your employment, you will no longer have access to these electronic communications, which are frequent in today's work environment. They often contain important information. Keep them in a safe place. You can also forward them to a personal e-mail account.
  • Copy all voicemails - Make a recording of all voicemail messages that pertain to your case. If you choose to record conversations that are not voicemails and to which other parties of the conversation have not consented, be advised that you may be violating the law.
  • Keep copies of performance evaluations - and all other documents your employer provides to you, as they are not always kept in your personnel file.
  • Contest performance evaluations - If you feel a performance evaluation is discriminatory, retaliatory, or in some other fashion unfair, document your beliefs on the performance evaluation. Most companies allow employees to respond to their performance reviews; take advantage of this opportunity to tell your story and express your concerns. If your company does not provide this opportunity, write your concerns in a letter or e-mail to your supervisor or the human resources department. Remember to keep a copy for your own records.
  • Keep a list of your accomplishments - Employers often do not record all of your significant job accomplishments in your performance evaluations.
  • Communicate with your employer in writing - The only evidence of a conversation is your word against your employers. Documents speak for themselves and are evidence that can be used at trial to support your case. Put your thoughts or concerns in writing, date all correspondence, and keep a copy.
  • Get your medical records - If your claim involves a medical injury and/or disability, you will need to obtain your medical records from all of your medical providers. In order to do so, you will need to make a written request and sign a written consent for their release. Ask your medical provider for more information.
  • Gather names and addresses of witnesses - It is important to collect contact information from any witnesses and/or co-workers who may have information about your case. Once you no longer have access to the workplace, it may be difficult for you to get in contact with them if you have not previously obtained such information.
  • Keep copies of everything you give and/or get from your employer - Your employer often will not keep a copy.
  • Make a complaint to Human Resources - Make a complaint about discriminatory, harassing, or retaliatory actions to your employer as outlined in the employee manual, to a supervisor, or to your human resources department. The complaint should be in writing, and you need to keep a copy of it.
  • Collect documents - Collect all documents that you have that support your case, make a file, and keep your documents in a safe place.
  • Make a complaint with a government agency - For most illegal employment practices, you must first file a complaint with a government agency before you can go to court. There are very strict guidelines for doing so. Make sure to act quickly.
  • Consult an attorney - The best way to learn about your rights and to receive a fair and accurate evaluation of your claims is to contact an experienced attorney.

Call or email Ed Fox & Associates, Ltd. as soon as possible. The firm's lawyers can evaluate your situation and discuss your legal options with you.

If You Are Terminated
  • Get your personnel file - Under Illinois law, your employer is required to provide you with a copy your personnel file within seven (7) days of a written request, even after you have been terminated. Your personnel file will be very helpful for a lawyer handling your case.
  • Collect employee manuals/handbooks - Find as many versions of employee manuals and handbooks as you can. They are often critical to your case.
  • Keep a journal - Before your memory fades, write down your version of the events leading to your termination and any other discriminatory, harassing, or retaliatory events that occurred during your employment.
  • Keep an employment file - There are many items that you will need to provide to your attorney. Keep a separate file in a safe place that contains all of these items. This prevents you from misplacing a document or mixing in other non-relevant material.
  • Collect performance evaluations - and all other documents your employer has given you during your employment, and keep them in your employment file.
  • Make a list of your accomplishments - these may not be contained within your personnel file or performance evaluations; all accomplishments will be useful to your lawyer.
  • Download and print your e-malls - If you have any e-mails in your personal accounts concerning work, keep them in your employment file.
  • Contest your termination - If you feel that your termination was a result of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or is wrongful in another way, make a complaint in writing to your employer. It is best to make the complaint through the human resources department. This will help create a record of your employer's conduct. Remember to keep a copy.
  • Get your medical records - If your claim involves a medical injury and/or disability, you will need to obtain your medical records from all of your medical providers. In order to do so, you will need to make a written request and sign a written consent for their release. Ask your medical provider for more information.
  • Gather names and addresses of witnesses - It is important to collect contact information from any witnesses and/or co-workers who may have information about your case, as such information may be difficult to obtain at a later date.
  • Make a complaint with a government agency - For most illegal employment practices, you must first file a complaint with a government agency before you can go to court. There are very strict guidelines for doing so. Make sure to act quickly.
  • Look for another job - The law requires you to look for employment after your have been terminated, even if your employer was wrong. Keep track of your job search actions and expenses. Also, keep a copy of all resumes, correspondence, applications, and advertisements to which you respond.
  • Consult an attorney - The best way to learn about your rights and to receive a fair and accurate evaluation of your claims is to contact an experienced attorney.
  • Before filing for unemployment - It is important that you contact an attorney because the information you provide to the unemployment office could help or harm your case.

Call or email Ed Fox & Associates, Ltd. as soon as possible The firm's lawyers can evaluate your situation and discuss your legal options with you.

You Must Act Quickly

Whether you are still working or have been fired, it is important to act quickly to protect your rights and preserve evidence relevant to your case. There are strict time limits for the filing of claims:

  • Federal employees must file within 45 days of the incident.
  • Other employees must file within 180 days with the Illinois Department of Human Rights or 300 days with the EEOC.
  • Depending on your circumstances, there are other time limits that you must obey. Failure to follow the appropriate time limits will result in the loss of your claims. Contact Ed Fox & Associates, Ltd. for more information.

For a free consultation with Ed Fox & Associates, Ltd., call 312-345-8877 or send an e-mail. The firm represents clients in the greater Chicago, Illinois, area.

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