I’m Brittney Thompson, one of the employment attorneys at Bailey & Galyen. We receive calls daily from potential clients who have been wronged at work and want to know what their legal rights are. Through our intake process, we determine if what happened to them was just wrong, or if it rose to the level of being illegal.
One issue we run into frequently is people who had something illegal happen to them at work, but we can’t pursue it because they never reported it. We were taught in grade school not to be a tattle tale, and many of us carry that into our adult lives. Unfortunately, choosing not to report unfair or illegal conduct can be detrimental to any claim you may have. If you have been discriminated against, harassed, or treated differently at work because of your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender, age, or disability but don’t properly report it, they can get away with it. Most companies have specific policies and procedures for making such a report in order to make sure the right people get involved. If you believe you are being discriminated at work, you MUST find out what the appropriate method is for reporting it and make the report. If the report is made verbally, be sure to document the details of the report you made and, if possible, send a follow up email documenting the discussions. The better paper trail you create for your complaint, the stronger your claims can be.
Generally, your employer is only responsible for conduct they know about. Once you have made a report of discrimination or harassment, the company’s obligation to take appropriate action begins. If the company fails to investigate, fails to take action, allows the conduct to continue, or allows the conduct to get worse, you may have a cause of action against them. Also, the law provides protection against retaliation for employees who make complaints of discrimination or harassment and then face adverse action, which can include things like denial of a promotion, denial of job benefits, demotion, suspension, and termination. Depending on the severity, it may also include work-related threats, warnings, reprimands, transfers, negative or lowered evaluations, transfers to less prestigious or desirable work or work locations, and any other type of adverse treatment that in the circumstances might dissuade a reasonable person from making such a report. The very purpose of these laws is to make sure employees feel safe making reports of discrimination and harassment.
If you have faced harassment or discrimination in the workplace, the labor and employment section of Bailey & Galyen is eager to help you navigate through the appropriate legal claims. There are strict deadlines in place for these claims, so it is important that you have your case evaluated promptly. At Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free consultation with experienced employment attorneys and staff to give you a legal assessment and offer a path forward. Call me to discuss your employment situation today.