Every day, workers across the Carolinas are mistreated at work. The employers of these mistreated workers may have policies that encourage them to file complaints with their supervisors or the Human Resources Department to report the mistreatment. Unfortunately, many mistreated employees will file complaints that leave out critical details. This failure can prove fatal to any discrimination charge or lawsuit the mistreated employee may file against their employer in the future.
When you complain, be as detailed as possible, and don’t be shy about including specifics about profanity or sexual remarks.
If someone calls you a “shithead,” don’t tell your boss somebody cursed at you. Report the use of the word “shithead.” If a male coworker remarks: “Sally, you have huge jugs” or a “great ass,”; then Sally needs to tell her boss or Human Resources precisely what was said; she needs to specifically report the use of the words “jugs” and “great ass.” Sally can’t be timid and simply tell her boss someone made comments about her body.
Identifying the precise words used helps the employer fully understand the nature of the problem and prevents the employer from later claiming it didn’t appreciate how bad things were.
Consider putting your report in writing. To make sure there is a record of your complaint, it is wise to prepare a written complaint to give to your boss or the Human Resources department.
If you prepare a written report, type it out instead of simply writing it out by hand. Include in your account all the detail: the date it happened, the names of the coworkers who mistreated you, the details of what happened, and the names of any witnesses to the event. Always keep a copy of any written report you prepare for your file you should keep at home.
If writing is a challenge for you, ask a friend or family member to check the document for spelling and grammar errors. Always date and sign your written report. The bottom line, a written report makes it harder for a supervisor or Human Resources department to deny you made a complaint.
Always label the motivation for the mistreatment. This is very important. When you complain, you must identify who mistreated you, what happened, and the cause of the behavior. If you are black, and white employees harass you, tell your boss or Human Resources if you believe you are being discriminated against because of your “race.”
If you are over 40, and younger employees are getting promotions, and you can’t even get an interview for a vacancy, tell your boss or Human Resources if you believe you are the victim of “age discrimination.” Using those terms to identify the motivation, you specifically are requesting protection under the Company’s workplace discrimination policy. If you fail to include the basis, the employer might simply claim that the problem was due to a personality conflict or some other innocent motive.
Don’t let your employer wiggle off the hook- make sure it knows you are complaining about age, gender, disability, pregnancy, religion, race discrimination, or sexual harassment.