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  • Writer's pictureS. Anne Marie Archer

3 key questions to think through as you create a strategy for reporting discrimination to HR

In this blog post I share 3 things you should think through carefully and strategically before you go to Human Resources (HR) to report a discriminatory hostile work environment.

In a prior blog post I explained the importance of having a strategy before you take a claim of discrimination to Human Resources (HR). In this blog post, I will explain how to strategically think about a complaint to HR before you make it.

Before you go to HR to report a hostile discriminatory claim make sure you have carefully thought through and have the answer to the following three questions.

1. What is the problem?

Is it the problem discrimination bullying, toxicity or hostility? Do you know the difference? Do you have documentation to support your report?

2. What do you want HR to do about it? Concretely what do you want HR to do to address the issue you will report to them? Do you want them to launch an investigation? Do you want a transfer to another department or manager? Do you want other action? What do you want? If

3. What are you prepared to do if HR takes adverse action against you or does nothing?

Unfortunately, it is very likely that you will become a target after filing a complaint. Are you prepared for that? Do you know what you will do in response? Do you know what you will do if HR does nothing either by finding no issue after an “investigation” or taking no action at all? What are you prepared to do if HR takes no action or allows retaliation against you by your manager? Remember Retaliation can be a gift if you know how to use it but do you?

These questions above center on eventualities you should think through and include in your strategy BEFORE you go anywhere near HR.

As I explained in my blog post entitled “Before Your Report a Discrimination Claim to Human Resources do these things", it is important to report any concern or complaint to HR as close as possible to when the act occurs BUT you should not do so unless you have a plan and strategy that contemplates and anticipates HR’s response to your complaint. Thinking through those 3 questions will help you to start planning strategically for not only reporting your concerns but being ready for how they may respond.

When you go to HR to file a complaint about discrimination or any other issue you should go already knowing what you want out of the interaction and with an idea of how HR is likely to respond to your complaint. You cannot go to HR blindly expecting that they will act in your interest because as I explained in a previous blog post, employees cannot and should not trust Human Resources (HR), because its first interest is always to protect the company/organization and managers are agents of the company. As such, HR will almost always default to protecting your manager even when they are wrong or have acted wrongfully. Why because your manager is an agent of the organization and HR will protect the organization at all costs. That is their role.

Prior to any complaint to HR, you must understand that upon filing a complaint you are likely to be treated and viewed as the problem rather than the manager about whom you might be complaining or the issue about which you might be complaining. So, when you go to HR you should go with the understanding of not just what you want to report but with a clear answer to the three questions above and a clear expectation of an outcome in mind.

In summary before you bring a complaint to HR, especially a complaint of discrimination, you MUST be ready. And being ready means having a strategy and plan and the answer to these those three questions.

If you’re not sure how to craft a complaint or raise your concerns and present your expectations effectively that’s where I come in. Book a discovery call and let’s map your strategy.

This is not discouragement from going to HR and raising your concerns. It is imperative that you do report concerns about discrimination at work. But you must do it effectively and strategically.

Having a strategy and a clearly thought through expectation and set of outcomes will position you to get what you need from human resources whether this is relevant to filing a complaint or simply pursuing career development.

Just in time or the Holidays and New Year Career Planning, The Hostile Work Environment Escape Strategy Webinar Series is on Sale!

Regularly priced at $999, the Four 4-Part Master Class series has been reduced to $199 for a limited time!


· How to ID a Hostile Work Environment and What to Do Next

· How to Document a Hostile Work Environment & Create an Effective Timeline of Events

· How to Request the Separation with Severance and When to Do it.

· How to Negotiate a Severance and Separation Agreement that Serves your Interest

If you need help navigating a discriminatory hostile work environment, or you want to get out of one, perhaps with even some severance pay, Book a HWEES Discovery Call.

For more tips about navigating and escaping difficult HR situations,

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HR is not your enemy but they are definitely not your friend, I am. I am the AntiHR, HRLady and I’m here to help.

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