It is no secret that employers can take advantage of their employees. It is so common that there are laws in place to protect workers from being taken advantage of. According to the National Employment Lawyers Association, more than 50% of workers have experienced some form of employer misconduct.
However, many people do not know these laws or how to defend themselves if they feel they are being taken advantage of. If you are an employee, you can do a few things to protect yourself from bad employers.
1. Learn about your rights.
The first thing you can do is learn about your rights as an employee. Many laws protect employees from being taken advantage of, and if you know your rights, you will be in a better position to defend yourself if you feel like you are being taken advantage of.
Federal laws, like the National Labor Relations Act, protect employees’ rights to form unions and bargain collectively. There are also state laws that may offer additional protection. You can learn about your rights by talking to an attorney or researching online.
It would also help to familiarize yourself with your company’s employee handbook. This document will outline the company’s policies and procedures, and it is a good resource to refer to if you have any questions about your rights as an employee.
2. Talk to your co-workers.
If you feel like you are being mistreated, it can be helpful to talk to your co-workers. See if they are experiencing similar treatment. If they are, you may be able to band together and take action. Additionally, your co-workers can be a good source of information about the company’s policies and procedures.
When asking your co-workers for information, be sure to do so discreetly. You don’t want to give your employer any reason to think you are planning to take action against them. Use caution when discussing sensitive topics at work.
3. Ask a lawyer.
If you are unsure about your rights or what to do next, consider talking to a lawyer. An attorney can give you specific advice about your situation and let you know what options are available to you. They also have specializations, so be sure to find an attorney with experience with employment law.
For example, if you obtained an injury at work that led to a brain injury, you would want to seek out an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney. They are well-versed in the laws that protect employees and can offer you specific guidance. They will also fight for your rights in court, if necessary, and get you the compensation you deserve.
Many free legal clinics are also available, which can be a good resource if you cannot afford to hire an attorney. They can provide you with general information about your rights and help you decide what to do next.
4. Keep records.
If you feel you are being mistreated, keeping records of what is happening is essential. Write down dates, times, and specific instances of misconduct. This will be helpful if you decide to take action against your employer. Keep your records in a safe place, like a locked drawer or box. You don’t want your employer to find them and retaliate against you.
You should also keep records of any conversations you have with your co-workers or your attorney. These can be helpful to refer back to later. Some people keep a work diary, which can help document what is happening at work. You can also take pictures or videos to document conditions at work.
5. Know your options.
Depending on the severity of the situation, you may decide to take action against your employer. This could include filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, filing a lawsuit, or going to court. You may also decide to quit your job and look for another one.
If you decide to take action, be prepared to face retaliation from your employer. They may try to demote you, reduce your hours, or even fire you. It is essential to be aware of this and have a plan. Talk to your attorney about what to do if this happens.
If you decide to quit, document why you are doing so. This can be helpful if you decide later to file for unemployment benefits or take legal action. No matter what you choose to do, make sure you are taking care of yourself. Working in an abusive environment can be highly stressful and affect your mental and physical health. Be sure to get support from family and friends and take care of yourself emotionally and physically.
Bad employers exist, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. If you think you are being mistreated, the steps above can help you take action. Remember, you have rights and deserve to be treated fairly at work. Don’t let a bad employer get away with mistreating you.