Every employee expects to be treated with fairness and respect by their employer. This includes the basic assumption that you will be valued as an individual with unique strengths and weaknesses to contribute to your organization.
Additionally, it is normal to assume all employees will be afforded opportunities for pay raises, promotions, and other opportunities based on their job performance and the execution of their responsibilities.
However, we know that this cannot always be the case, unfortunately. In order to best protect yourself, we have put together some helpful information to help you recognize unfair treatment at work and also understand what your rights are when you experience this treatment for yourself.
How To Spot Unfair Treatment At Work
Unfair treatment can come in a variety of forms at work ranging from discrimination to unfair treatment among equal employees. One of the most important characteristics of unfair treatment to understand is that it is illegal to harass or discriminate against someone because of so-called “protected characteristics” such as age, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, race, religion, color, nationality, and gender.
Harassing or discriminating is expressly forbidden in every state’s worker protection clauses, as these behaviors can lead to an unhealthy workplace and employees that are mistreated on a regular basis. Some of the most common examples of unfair treatment at work include:
- Spreading false rumors about coworkers
- Neglecting a promotion or pay raise due to a race, gender, or other non-work-specific trait
- Sending offensive emails or texts regarding an employee
- Paying certain employees lower wages due to a protected characteristic as mentioned above
- Demoting or firing an employee without a fair, due process or a good reason for doing so.
- Firing or laying off workers due to age
These are just a few examples, but there are many more. From this list, you can begin to develop an idea of some unfair behaviors that an employer should never be engaged in.
What Can You Do?
If you experience unfair treatment at work, there are some simple steps you can take first to try to remedy the situation. It is important to note, however, that you do have rights when it comes to unfair treatment and that you never should settle for being mistreated at any job.
Some of the steps you can take include:
Document Your Experience
If you are worried about how you are being treated, the best defense is a good offense. Try to gather evidence regarding your experience of being untreated and document what you have been through. This could be through email records, text messages, letters from fellow employees or managers, internal memos, etc. This information will be important for negotiating later on if you are found to have a case and if you decide to quit and need severance pay or fair compensation for your struggles.
Also, try to write down your version of the story as soon as they happen in order to accurately transcribe your experience and the feelings you went through.
Report Your Experience
If you do decide to take action and find that you really have been a victim of unfair treatment, it is important to report your case. This is often done by reporting your case to your HR department alongside the materials mentioned above. This makes your complaint formally submitted and will lead to your case being taken more seriously by your employer.
Don’t fret about getting fired for doing this! In reality, formalizing your complaint will ensure that you can’t be fired. If you are wrongfully terminated due to unfair treatment, this will only strengthen your overall case against your employer. This will also motivate your employer to take your complaints seriously and, hopefully, have an honest discussion about how the situation can be remedied.
The worst thing you can do is try to justify your employer’s behaviors against you in any way. If you are being mistreated on a regular basis, this can lead to high levels of stress and worry that will only damage your health and take away from your ability to lead a gratifying and productive career path.
Self-care is very important during these times. Talk to family members, friends, and any tested advisors in order to vent and receive trusted advice about your situation.
Overall, spotting unfair treatment at work and acknowledging that it is happening is the first step toward remedying the situation. If you are concerned about unfair treatment, be sure to be honest and bring it up to your HR department or employer as soon as possible in order to prevent the situation from escalating beyond your control.
Connect With Experienced HR Consultants
HR Search and Rescue is a full-service HR consulting firm. Their team offers one-on-one meetings and crowd consultations to discuss workplace challenges and issue guidance on how to manage and/or resolve even the most challenging workplace situations. Contact HR Search and Rescue online or over the phone at (844) 934- 3743 to schedule an appointment to learn more about unfair treatment at work and what you can do.