When an employee experiences conflict at work, they often feel that the right thing to do is to report the conduct either to a supervisor, especially if there are continuous incidents with other co-workers or higher-ups in the company.
Most employees assume that the law protects their jobs if they report a conflict. The reality is that these types of complaints may not be well received, especially for employees who go over their supervisor’s heads to report the conduct. Human resource departments may be of little help in a hostile work environment since their job is not to resolve a conflict among employees but to protect the company from legal liability.
Know Your Rights
Anti-retaliation laws protect only some types of complaints. Retaliation includes behavior such as:
- Terminating an employee
- Taking away benefits
- Demoting the staff member
- Changing their work schedule without their consent
- Giving a person extra tasks, outside their standard job description
If you simply do not get along with your boss or other co-workers, complaining about their behavior may not be a wise idea. You may face retaliation and have no legal recourse. However, this shouldn’t stop you from reporting behavior that makes you uncomfortable or is threatening in any way. In that situation, the law is on your side.
An employer cannot retaliate against an employee who engages in protected activities. For example, the title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, gender, and religion. A complaint made in good faith about discriminatory behavior will usually qualify as a protected activity.
Stay on Top of It
Complaints to your company’s human resources department should be as specific as possible, and you should try to obtain evidence to support your claim whenever possible. It is a good idea (though not a legal requirement) to follow the company’s procedures for making complaints. Some companies have a hotline that employees can call to report unsafe or unlawful conduct at work. If there is no specific policy on reporting activities like discrimination and sexual harassment, it is a good idea to make a written report and submit it to your supervisor or the human resources department.
Speak With a Qualified Lawyer from an Employment Law Attorney in Detroit
If an employer retaliates against an employee unlawfully after that individual engaged in a protected activity, they might sue the employer for damages. It is a good idea to contact a lawyer right away if you believe that you’re a victim of unlawful retaliation at work.
An employee can help you understand your legal rights including whether or not your employer’s conduct was lawful. An experienced employment lawyer can also explain your options so that you can decide how to proceed with your claim. The Law Office of Christopher Trainor & Associates has been serving Michigan residents for over 20 years. Our team of well-versed employment attorneys has over 60 years of experience collectively. Contact our office today at 877-425-0743 today for assistance regarding the rights of employees.