Do’s and Don’ts of Workplace Law

Nov 25, 2012

Skeletons in employee’s closets can haunt them
Employees are often the authors of their own misfortunes at work.  Few take advantage of laws that are construed in their favour.  Fewer will challenge their employer’s decisions, however unjust.  Most will just complain.  But – if you have an inclination to fight back, here are some do’s and don’ts:
Skeletons:  Just about every employee has a skeleton in their closet.  If yours is so bad you can’t risk it being exposed, then do not challenge your employer’s decision to discipline or dismiss you, however unfair.  Some workplace skeletons, although not harmful to your case, will ultimately be harmful to your career.
Condonation: Many good cases die on the vine because of a delay in mounting an appropriate response.  If you disagree with an employer’s decision, such as a pay cut or demotion, you must immediately protest it and do so in writing.  Failing to respond simply conveys to your employer that you agreed with its decision or at least that you did not care enough to complain.
Allegations: Few employees can afford to wait years to settle a case.  Many of these cases would have settled quickly but for trumped up allegations of bad faith or mistreatment.  When you name names in a lawsuit, you motivate your employer to vigorously defend it.  In my experience, too many employee-side lawyers mistakenly aggrandize claims and then later regret it.
Hypocrites: Many cases turn sideways when the conduct you complain of is similar to what you have done.  In one recent bullying case, the judge found that although the employee had been bullied at work, she had previously bullied her own colleagues.  Although her claim for bullying was legitimate, she was denied damages because she had engaged in the very same conduct that she had complained of.  Do not expect any sympathy for your grievances, if you do not make them with clean hands.
Author: Daniel Lublin
Publication: Metro

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