How to Report Unfair Treatment at Work

Author: Nicki Malekadeli
Posted on: March 15, 2019

Employees these days tend to encounter employers who treat them unfairly more frequently. When abusers become aware of their acts, they fear legal action from their employees. However, there are still those who believe they can get away with what they do, especially when their business involves illegal activity.

To prevent unfair labor practices and poor working conditions, employees must never allow their employers to silence or intimidate them. Know that you can make legal actions to stop the abuse. However, it’s vital to understand what defines an unfair work practice and identifying them before reporting them and filing a complaint.

Understanding Unfair Work Practices

An essential aspect of reporting unfair work treatment is defining what can be deemed as “unfair.” Employees must know that there are “unfair” practices but are not necessarily illegal. Those who wish to report or sue their employers may have valid cases but are not victims of illegal practices. Understand that legal action can only be done when the employer in question has broken the law.

Examples of Unfair Treatment at Work

State and federal laws can protect employees from unfair treatment at work if it is discriminating an employee based on the following:

  • Gender: When your employer is treating you differently based on gender identity or sexual orientation, this constitutes discrimination. Gender discrimination can affect your hiring process, salary, job classification, and future opportunities at work to name a few. Understand that gender discrimination negatively affects your working conditions and is unlawful.
  • Race: Some employers or coworkers treat employees unfairly because of their race, skin color, or nationality. Know that there are numerous California laws under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that protect employees and applicants from such acts.
  • Religious beliefs: It is against the law for employers to mistreat employees and applicants based on their religious beliefs. Companies and business are also obliged to adjust policies certain schedules or assigned duties that interfere with an employee’s religious practices.
  • Age: Employees and applicants over 40 can be treated unfairly because of their age. There are laws that combat such discrimination and treatment that may affect the employment of an aged employee.
  • Disability: Mistreating employees because of a disability, from physical conditions or disfigurement to mental illnesses and psychological problems, can be considered unlawful. Though these conditions may limit an individual’s capability to perform certain activities, employers are prohibited from discriminating or unfairly treating an employee or applicant based on their disability.

When you experience any of these scenarios mentioned above, you can immediately hold your employer accountable for unfair treatment since these are all protected by the law. There are also other types of unfair treatment that you may experience and can take legal action to subvert. These include:

  • Breach of contract: Employers and employees may reach an agreement with unique terms of employment that may include conditions for termination, pay, and benefits. However, many employers break these written or verbal agreements and deny the rights of employees. If these terms are not complied with by the employer, a breach of contract claim can be filed. So if your employer fires you for reasons that are not included in your contract, for example, you can file for a wrongful termination case.
  • Whistleblower retaliation: There are employers who retaliate against employees who report unfair treatment or other criminal activities at work. Know that whistleblower laws exist and protect employees against retaliation. Employees don’t need to worry because assisting or reporting investigations of illegal activities can prompt these laws.
  • Wage claims: Minimum wage is regulated by The Federal Fair Labor Standard Act. There are also federal laws that require equal compensation for men and women in the same position along with this. So if what employees are earning is below the minimum wage, they can file a claim against their employer.

Know How to Report Unfair Treatment at Work When It Happens

Putting the experience on paper is an effective way to manage these incidents, especially when the unfair treatment is compromising your work. Composing a written statement, even if the company policy does not require employees to make one, helps document the incident better as well. So if you think your employer is treating you unfairly or is engaging in unlawful practices, you can report him or her to the authorities using the following procedures for writing a formal complaint:

  • Know your rights: Understand employment and labor laws that protect you from discrimination and workplace bullying and harassment.
  • Review your company policies: Go over your company handbook and review its policies. Employers include processes to adhere to when filing complaints with managers or the HR department. Make sure you include the names and titles of the superiors you are reaching out to in your written statement.
  • Write down the chronology of events: List down particular scenarios that you believe are instances of unfair practices or treatment in chronological order. Include the date, time, and place of each incident. If there are any witnesses, list them down as well. For this letter, only state facts and exclude any subjective opinions.
  • Request what kind of action is desired: Provide a direct request of action or response to resolve the unfair treatment in your concluding paragraph.

There are numerous requirements and processes for filing complaints that vary for state and federal agencies. In order for employees to file all of these properly, it’s highly advisable that they seek professional legal advice from experienced employment lawyers in California. That way, you can also assure that your fight against such injustice in your work environment ends up successfully.