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By Louise Herman

When you experience harassment or discrimination at your place of employment, you may not know what to do. After all, you want to hold your employer accountable for their actions, but you also may be afraid of retaliation. Though you may be hesitant to report workplace discrimination for several reasons, it’s important to take this step to receive the justice you deserve. Keep reading to learn more about what agency you should report prejudice to and discover how a Providence, Rhode Island employment discrimination lawyer can help you navigate this complex issue.

What Constitutes Discrimination?

Any time an employer treats an employee or job applicant differently based on a characteristic constitutes discrimination. These characteristics include, but are not limited to:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • National origin

It’s also important to understand that there are two main kinds of discrimination: disparate treatment and impact. Disparate treatment is when an employer treats a worker differently because of one of the aforementioned protected classes. Disparate impact is more subtle, as this occurs when an employer has policies that appear fair on the surface but negatively impact members of a particular protected class.

Examples of discrimination include:

  • Segregating employees by race or ethnicity
  • Using insulting stereotypes or language
  • Refusing to hire employees who live in a specific area of the city, regardless of their qualifications
  • Paying women less than men for the same job duties
  • Making fun of another employee’s cultural food or accent

How Can I Report Workplace Discrimination?

In Rhode Island, you have multiple options when you want to report discrimination in the workplace. Most commonly, employers file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the federal agency that protects employees from discrimination. However, you only have 180 days to file with the EEOC.

You can also file a complaint with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights within one year of the discriminatory behavior. The process for this involves going to or calling the office to speak with an information officer. They will provide you with a questionnaire which you will submit upon completion. If the Commission accepts the charge, an investigator will be assigned to the case to gather pertinent information before deciding the outcome.

Finally, you can file a complaint with the Rhode Island Division of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion through their Equal Opportunity Office. You can submit a complaint in person or through an official complaint form.

It’s vital to note that it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you in any capacity if you file a discrimination complaint against them.

Despite the number of places you can file a report, it’s essential to understand that you should still reach out to an experienced employment attorney. Unfortunately, for those who have already suffered discrimination, it’s important to realize you do not have to endure this battle alone. At the Herman Law Group, we believe all employees should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Contact us today to learn how we can help you get justice and hold prejudiced employers responsible.

About the Author
At Herman Law Group, our focus is on safeguarding the rights and careers of employees and businesses alike. With over 35 years of successful legal practice, Louise A. Herman brings an invaluable dual perspective from representing both employees and employers. This unique insight allows us to effectively achieve successful outcomes for our clients in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and nationwide.