Nearly every company of a certain size has its own human resources department. In addition to providing training and orientation, HR departments should provide employees with support and assistance if issues such as workplace discrimination arise.
Unfortunately, human resources departments are not always an employee's best advocate. In fact, in some cases, reporting your issues to human resources can actually hinder your case rather than help it.
Human resources and reporting
Although the intention of most companies' human resources departments is generally aimed in the right direction - that of assisting employees - the reality can be quite different. Internal office politics may dictate the actual workings of your company's HR department. If you report your workplace discrimination or other issue to HR, you may actually find yourself the victim of retaliation, going so far as termination. In those cases, you now have a compound problem. In addition to not having resolved the workplace discrimination issue, you face the additional burden of having to deal with unlawful retaliation for reporting an issue. While not all cases end up this way, enough of them do to make it a real concern.
Alternatives to human resources
If you have a documented case of workplace discrimination and you do not want to risk the possible negative consequences that can result when you report the issue to your human resources department, you do have some other options. One important factor to keep in mind, however, is to act quickly in reporting workplace discrimination.
If the conduct you see or experience in your workplace is illegal, you may consider going directly to speak to an employment law attorney before you approach your human resources department. One benefit of doing so is that the attorney can guide you and advise you from the very first steps onward. This can help you avoid pitfalls and also provide you with valuable support and legal assistance should the human resources department not work as your advocate.