As an employee, you might feel like your hands are tied if you’re being treated unfairly at work. However, whether the bullying is coming from a co-worker or your employer, you don’t need to sit still and allow it to happen.
As a worker, you have rights and entitlements, and there are things your boss can’t legally do – so it’s important to address issues and get to the root of the problem. Here are X things to do.
Understand Unfair Treatment
Unfair treatment can encompass a myriad of things. It could involve having your work, competence and opinions undermined or overlooked, being deliberately and unfairly criticised, treated differently or unequally to colleagues for any reason, or being discriminated against.
If any of these (or something similar) applies to you, you might be feeling anxious, degraded and even guilty at work, which no employee should have to deal with.
Understand the Law
Formally addressing your unfair treatment will involve addressing company policy (on the lowest level), or actual state law (at the highest).
Understanding your rights when it comes to equality, harassment, and discrimination is crucial, so asking your HR department about company policies, doing some reading on employment law or even getting in contact with a labour lawyer might be in your best interests.
When you understand your legal rights, you have a better idea of where you stand and what you’re up against, before submitting a formal complaint.
Ask for Advice
By this, we don’t mean to encourage you to run to your favourite colleague with office gossip. In fact, that’s one of the worst things you can do.
If you feel you’re being treated unfairly at work, you’ll want to talk to someone who has the authority to help you, or at least someone you trust. This could be a manager or someone in your HR department. Alternatively, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to any of these people informally, simply chat to a friend to let off steam. This will allow you to have your emotions in check when engaging in a formal conversation at work.
Submit a Complaint
If you want the issue to be addressed, submitting a formal complaint in writing is your best route of action.
In your letter, be sure to avoid emotional language. Stick to the facts you’re aware of, describe the unfair treatment in as much detail as possible and provide dates, times and locations if possible.
Before writing your letter, discuss with your colleagues if any of them have witnessed the unfair treatment, and would be willing to be listed as a witness in your grievance letter. Having witnesses can help serve as evidence and will get you closer to the outcome you desire.
Escalate the Issue
If your formal complaint doesn’t lead to any improvement in the situation, you might need to consider escalating the issue. In these cases, you’ll need to hire a labour lawyer who will be able to help you work through possible options.