While most employees expect to receive fair treatment at work, this, unfortunately, isn’t always the case. This applies to more than just being treated fairly, though. Most employees operate under the belief that they will both be treated fairly and have the same opportunity to progress in the company based on their performance and the value they provide.
Despite this fact, there are still many cases where employees will encounter some type of discrimination or unfair treatment at work from either coworkers or members of upper management. When workers experience this type of behavior, it can be difficult to know what their options are and what actions to take.
What Constitutes Unfair Treatment
As an employee, it is vital to understand your rights and what to do if you feel neglected or treated unfairly at work (internal link to rights article). Unfair treatment in the workplace can come in many forms and, oftentimes, can be very difficult to notice due to gaslighting or other forms of unhealthy management.
Here are the most common examples of unfair treatment at work to be aware of:
- Spreading rumors about fellow employees
Discrimination based on gender, sex, age, disability, or other protected characteristics
Playing “favorites” and discriminating for promotions and pay raises
Terminating or disciplining employees without due process
While these are just a few examples, it is important to understand that these rights are held by every employee. Discrimination or unfair treatment of any kind should not be tolerated, as every employee has the right to take legal action if they feel they have been the subject of unfair treatment.
But what actions are actually available to workers in this position?
How To Handle Unfair Treatment In The Workplace
If you are being treated unfairly in the workplace, there are a number of steps you can take in order to protect your rights:
Document the Evidence
One of the most important things you can do to ensure you receive justice is to document the evidence of the offense as best you can. This includes saving emails containing the unfair/discriminatory treatment, internal memos, voicemails, etc.
You may also be able to use this information as leverage in negotiating severance pay and terms of your severance agreement should you decide to quit or if you are fired. It is also helpful to write down the info as soon as it happens so you get important details down as accurately as possible.
Report Your Experience
The next step is to officially report your experience to either your internal HR department or a trusted attorney. This will ensure that your complaint is formally accepted and that it is received by the proper channels.
Your employer cannot fire you or lay you off after you file a complaint because it gives the appearance of retaliation. Filing a complaint will get the details of the incident(s) on record while also protecting you from further discriminatory actions and wrongful termination.
Do Not Use Social Media In Regards to Workplace Issues
One of the easiest ways to shoot yourself in the foot is to post about your experience all over social media. This can not only paint a bad, inaccurate picture of the event but can also lose you credibility in the long run.
Your employment attorney might even advise you to suspend your social media accounts until your case is resolved because attorneys for the other side might look for something on your social media accounts to justify a firing or use this gossip to their advantage.
Contact An Independent HR Consultant
Having a trusted, experienced HR consultant can help you navigate fair treatment expectations and next steps. If you are struggling to decide what to do about discrimination or unfair treatment in your workplace, reach out to the fair treatment specialists at HR Search and Rescue office to learn more about your options.