You Love Your Job But You Are Being Harassed And Discriminated Against, Now What?
Obviously, immediately consult with a competent employment lawyer, but in the meantime don’t give up and don’t give your employer an excuse by being disruptive or acting in any way unbecoming to any co-worker, manager, customer, and/or vendor. I understand that it can be difficult to keep your composure and limit your reactions when being demeaned or harassed in the workplace, but do not lower yourself to their level.
Consider What Would A Juror Think
Jurors are people just like you, and some not like you. They may be forgiving of an unprofessional outburst in response to mistreatment, but then again, they may not. You will not know truly how they feel about your situation until you hear their verdict. Don’t take that chance. I’ve never heard a juror say they didn’t like the plaintiff/employee because they acted at all times in a professional and reasonable manner.
Don’t Become The Toxic Employee
Try to not become a toxic or disgruntled employee. If you have friends in the workplace that are not involved in the problems or issues you are having there, it is probably better to be a good friend to them and leave them out of it. I’ve never seen a lawsuit become successful because the employee continually complained about what a horrible person their supervisor was to a fellow colleague who had nothing to do with any of it. In the vast majority of situations, telling another colleague about harassment will not be evidence of harassment. If that friend did not witness the harassment for themselves, that friend’s testimony about what you told them is likely to be considered inadmissible hearsay and will not be considered by a judge or jury for liability against the company. On the flip side, I have seen people lose their jobs for saying or writing inappropriate things about managers to other co-workers, customers and/or clients and the employee’s statements ironically used as justification for terminating the employment.
(Click here to learn about the “mixed motive” defense employers will try to use to defeat your claims.)
Speak To Those That Can Help
This is not to say that you should keep silent. Asking a friend in the workplace for advice or asking if they have seen similar conduct is much different from the person who is constantly going around attempting to diminish a supervisor’s reputation or authority in the workplace to anyone that will listen. A better course of action often times is to bring the conduct to the attention of the people the company has designated to help you. The vast majority of employers in California have paid money to create a line of communication for grievances. Use it if you can. Will it help you? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Many jurors will look favorably on a plaintiff who used the proper channels to bring a complaint and gave the employer the opportunity to remedy the situation. Likewise, many jurors will also look with disfavor on a company that ignored or even punished the employee after they used the proper channels seeking help.
You Still Have To Prove Your Claims
Following this course will not mean that you will win your lawsuit. You must prove your claims that you were harassed or discriminated against unlawfully. The point here is to never give your employer an excuse to justify terminating your employment and escape liability for their or their supervisor’s unlawful harassment/discrimination.
Use Common Sense & Contact An Employment Lawyer
This is not intended to be legal advice, but rather this is a general common-sense approach to a difficult situation employees experience. If you feel you are being treated unfairly in the workplace, contact me, or another competent employment law attorney for legal advice for your specific situation.
This article is made available by THE TIBOR LAW FIRM, A.P.C. for educational purposes only as well as to provide general information and a general understanding of legal issues, and not to provide specific legal advice. By reading this and/or commenting, you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and THE TIBOR LAW FIRM, A.P.C. The information contained herein should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.