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Work: ADA Protections 101: Discrimination, Harrassment

Why and How To Keep A Work Journal

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Why Keep A Work Journal

A work journal is a form of insurance protection in the event of a loss.

  • The risk being covered is that you may be discriminated against because of your health condition or even a treatment.
  • The premium you're paying for the insurance is the few minutes it takes to keep a running diary of events. This doesn't mean you have to make an entry every day. Just when things happen.
  • The payoff is that in the event of a loss (in this case, discrimination against you), you have strong evidence to back-up your claim. A diary is strong evidence because it is "contemporaneous" -- made at the time events happen. Because of this, do not go back and change an entry later. If you do, make it clear when you made a change and why.

How To Keep A Work Journal

Include in your journal:

  • Things that happen at work that show you are doing a good job. For instance, you get a good job report, or are "employee of the month," or receive a letter from the president of the company telling you what a great job you're doing. Note who said or wrote the pat on the back and when. If you can, get a written copy of the good news and keep it with your diary.
  • Things that could indicate discrimination or harassment. They don't have to be out-and-out blatantly discriminatory or harassing events. It could be something as small as a joke about somebody with (fill in the blank.) Note the date, who did the action, and describe the action. If things don't ultimately add up to discrimination or harassment, there's no harm. If they do, you are prepared.

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