Employees in the United States are protected by a variety of laws at the federal and state level. However, many employees are unaware of their rights or are afraid to assert them for fear of retaliation. About 60% of workers say they’ve experienced being mistreated, but only a fraction of those cases are ever reported due to fear of retribution.
But if you know your rights and understand the law, you can stand up for yourself and others at work. Here are five legal tips to protect your rights in the workplace:
1. Understand your rights as an employee.
The best way to protect your rights is to understand what they are. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) executes laws on discrimination against an applicant or an employee. They protect employees from discrimination based on various human factors that should not play a role in the workplace. They also prohibit retaliation against someone who reports discrimination or participates in an investigation.
Other forms of mistreatment in the workplace, such as sexual harassment or creating a hostile work environment, are also prohibited by law. Many states have laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment, which may provide additional protections. You can find more information on the EEOC website.
2. Keep good records.
If you feel your employer mistreated you and violated your rights at work, it is crucial to keep detailed records documenting the events in question. These records can include emails, performance reviews, and other documentation supporting your claims. Good record-keeping will help you build a strong case if you decide to file a complaint or lawsuit.
Some employees will suffer injury or harm as a result of workplace mistreatment. If this happens, keep detailed records of your medical treatment and any missed work days. This documentation will be vital if you file a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit. It would be best if you also worked with a personal injury lawyer to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
3. Know your company’s policies and procedures.
Most companies have internal complaint procedures for employees who believe they have been subjected to discrimination, retaliation, or other mistreatment. Familiarizing yourself with these procedures will help you know what steps to take if you believe your rights have been violated. It is essential to follow the company’s guidelines exactly; failure to do so could jeopardize your chances of success.
Consult your employee handbook or talk to your human resources department to learn more about your company’s policies and procedures. You can also find this information on the company website. If unsure how to proceed, you can always talk to an attorney.
4. File a complaint with the EEOC.
The EEOC is responsible for investigating charges of workplace discrimination and retaliation. Filing a charge is the first step in this process and can be done online, by mail, or in person at one of their field offices. They will then investigate your claim and decide whether to take legal action against your employer.
You can also file a private lawsuit against your employer, but you must first file a charge with the EEOC. The time limit for filing a charge is usually 180 days from the date of the alleged discrimination, but this deadline may be extended in some cases. For other types of claims, such as harassment, the deadline may be as short as 300 days.
5. Ask an attorney for help.
Navigating the legal system can be complicated and overwhelming, especially when dealing with workplace mistreatment or personal injury. Many people work with an attorney to help them understand their rights and options. An experienced attorney can review your situation and help you determine the best course of action.
Consider talking to an attorney if you have been mistreated at work or believe your rights have been violated. They can help you understand your rights and options, and they can assist you in taking legal action against your employer. If you decide to file a lawsuit, an attorney can also help you navigate the legal system and ensure that your rights are protected.
Employers and employees both have responsibilities when it comes to maintaining a fair workplace. Employees who believe their rights have been violated should take action to protect themselves. The tips above provide some guidance on how best to do that. Remember, if you ever have any questions about your legal rights, it is always advisable to consult with an attorney. With their help, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.