A Few Simple Ways To Handle Newsroom Discrimination

A Few Simple Ways
To Handle Newsroom Discrimination

Written by Lois Lane
🕒 November 23, 2020

As journalists, we often cover stories of discrimination and injustice in our communities…

But what happens when the imbalance occurs in your newsroom, and you are the victim? Discrimination comes in all forms, and can be perpetuated by anyone from producer to general manager.

You may find yourself being discriminated against based on race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, or physical characteristic. And, let’s be honest, reporting this behavior may not result in any change, but documenting these situations is critical to finding any sort of resolution.

Certain classes are protected under state and federal law, meaning your HR director is legally required to address the issue.

Race, age (over 40), gender, sexual orientation, and disability are included in these protected classes at the federal level. Always remember: You do not have to address your accused colleague about these issues before contacting HR.

Documentation is key to any HR complaint. So, make sure you keep a very descriptive account of times you experienced discrimination; including the dates, and where the incident occurred.

A common misunderstanding people have about HR is that they are there to protect you when, in reality, they are paid to protect the company. For instance, they are more inclined to take action on a report when that report exposes the company to a lawsuit or claim.

If your report can be chalked up to disrespect, or simple incompatibility between co-workers, action may not be taken.

So make sure you describe the situation in great detail, and clearly explain why you believe it is discrimination.

If you believe your station’s HR director is not taking your complaint seriously, and you continue to experience discrimination, take the matter to your company HR. There should be a hotline listed on your parent company’s website, or within your online employee dashboard.

Contact a more senior level HR member, and share your concerns along with the documentation you’ve compiled. Now, that senior HR member may refuse to take action on your complaint.

If that happens, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You are required to file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC first, if you ever want to file a job discrimination lawsuit against your employer.

Filing a formal Charge of Employment Discrimination is a serious matter. But, before filing an official complaint, you can discuss your concerns with an EEOC staff member in an interview format to decide what the best course of action may be.

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