Minnesota laws protect employees against workplace discrimination and harassment and provide various channels to report any incident of the same. The most accessible channel for workers is their companies’ Human Resources (HR) department. However, some employees hesitate to come forward to their HR officers, thinking that the latter will likely brush off the report and take the employer’s side.
Expectations from HR officers
Employers must strongly implement policies against discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace. In case of discrimination complaints, an HR department must fairly investigate and ensure preventive measures to keep the complainant safe while the investigation is ongoing.
While it is a case-by-case basis, there are select incidents of inadequate or impartial investigation of workplace discrimination. And because of these cases, it is understandable that some employees do not wish to report incidents to HR. Fortunately, there are other ways to address these issues.
Are there alternatives?
There are other available channels you can use if you are not comfortable reporting a discrimination or harassment incident to your HR officers. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) is the state’s administrative agency in charge of processing discrimination claims, regardless of the number of employees.
If you wish to file a claim with a federal administrative agency, you can file your claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Unlike state laws, federal laws require that the company in question employs at least 15 employees before the EEOC can enforce the law.
All employees have the right to a safe working environment. Knowing the available channels for complaints can help workers take their next step to fight workplace discrimination and harassment.