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Employers in Tennessee are required by law to provide certain protections to their employees. Among the required protections is a safe work environment that’s free from workplace discrimination and harassment. Employers are prohibited from discriminating based on sex, religion, race, national origin, color, pregnancy, age and other factors. For employees who believe they have experienced or are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, there are steps that can be taken.

The employee should make the employer aware of the situation. Many illegal discriminatory or harassing acts are not punished or recognized because the employee never informs anyone about it. While the employer is responsible for obeying the applicable laws, it is the employee’s responsibility to protect his or her own rights. For this reason, it’s also important for the employee to keep a record of harassing or discriminatory incidents. A simple diary will suffice in most cases. The employee should make a record of the location, witnesses, parties involved, date, time and details of the incident.

If the employer does not respond to the employee’s reports or does not take the matter seriously, the employee could pursue relief via other avenues. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is tasked by the federal government with enforcing a number of discrimination and harassment laws. The EEOC can often get an employer to act even if the employee cannot.

An attorney, too, might be able to help in a case where an employee believes he or she has been harassed or discriminated against at work. People who are harmed by workplace discrimination might be able to recover monetary compensation or demand changes at work. Legal counsel with experience in employment law could potentially negotiate a settlement with the employer or conduct witness interviews and build a case for trial.