Talking to the right people in your company about a supervisor or someone in control of your work assignments can be very difficult. Most workers correctly worry that if their complaints about their supervisor aren’t respected or resolved, the supervisor can turn around and make a job even more difficult for the worker who complained.
There are different strategies depending on the type of work you do, the channels for communication within the company, the size of the company, and many other factors. The strategies also depend on your degree of discomfort and what the supervisor is doing or not doing. It is important that you line up all your ducks before filing a complaint. If you cannot do your job or you have concerns that you might be fired or denied workplace opportunities, please contact our experienced employment lawyers. We’ll answer your questions, explain your options, and help you make a comfortable strong decision.
Some of the strategies to consider include:
- Understand the seriousness of the supervisor’s conduct. Is the conduct against company policy? Is it unethical? Is it illegal? Is your employer discriminating against you because of your race, national origin, sex, sexual preference, pregnancy, disability, age, or other identity factors? Is your employer sexually harassing you or anyone at work? The more the supervisor’s misconduct violates clear standards, the stronger your chances of having those in the company (who should respond) listen and act on your complaints. The more subjective your complaints are, the less likely those in the company who should respond will respond. Subjective complaints include items such as the way your supervisor dresses, cuts his/her hair, their level of friendliness, and other personal characteristics.
- Gather the evidence you need. Try to think through what objective evidence can support your claim. You don’t want to solely rely on your word or version of what happened compared to your supervisor’s version. Examples of evidence include taking notes and dating them – as soon as possible after any improper conduct. You should discreetly save or copy any relevant emails, voicemails, and written communications.
- Determine who might reasonably listen to your concerns. If your company is large enough, it should have a human resources department. This department should have policies and procedures in place to manage employee-supervisor complaints. The policies and procedures should make clear that you should not suffer retaliation for filing a complaint. The human resources department should work with internal or external professionals who can evaluate employee complaints about their supervisors.
These professionals should be trained at determining more than just whose versions are valid. The professionals should help find ways to resolve disputes. If the company doesn’t have a human resources department, then someone in authority above the level of the supervisor may be a good person to review your concerns.
- Speak with an experienced California employment lawyer. If your supervisor’s actions are unethical, illegal, or violate company policy – then you should speak with an attorney who can answer your questions and explain your legal rights. Our skilled employment lawyers may communicate with the head of the company directly. We may file complaints with local state or federal agencies that handle employer conduct. In some cases, we may file a formal complaint with the state or federal court.
According to Your Office Coach, other items to consider if your supervisor is acted inappropriately or illegally include:
- Conduct a pro and con review. You need to think through, depending on your company’s dynamics, the benefits of complaining to human resources or to higher authorities within your company, and the benefits of filing a complaint. For example, you should think through how you want the problem resolved. What do you think your boss is likely to do? What risks do you see if your complaint isn’t considered valid?
- Act calmly. It’s a common reality that even the most fair-minded judges and people in authority are more likely to listen to you if your calmy state your position. While you likely do have a perfect right to be upset, showing your emotions may be held against you. That’s one reason it’s wise to speak with lawyers. Lawyers are trained to speak calmly and address the issues involved clearly and precisely.
- Think through what management is likely to think. Try to put yourself in the position of a manager or boss who is concerned about company profits and the overall operations of the business. Where you can, show how your concerns and solutions will benefit the whole company or people in your department.
- Have a specific remedy in mind. It helps your manager or a human resources department decide in your favor if you can explain what actions your employer should take.
- Determine if other coworkers have the same experience as you. The old adage that “there is strength in numbers” is usually true. If other workers are having the same difficulties with a supervisor, a group complaint increases the likelihood that the manager will list and respond.
Is your supervisor making your work life uncomfortable or miserable? Call the Miracle Mile Law Group for help. You can reach us at (888) 244-0706 or contact us to schedule a FREE consultation.