Employees deserve a fair workplace where people are treated equally by their employers. Unfortunately, unfair treatment at work is common across the U.S. If this has happened to you — you can report an employer for unfair treatment.
Employees have substantial protections under various employment laws that provide fair and equal treatment in the workplace. Companies should be held accountable for their egregious actions if they violate these laws.
According to employment laws, not everything that happens at work that seems to be “unfair” is considered “unfair treatment.” It is critical to understand the difference to know if your situation could be considered a valid claim that you can report an employer for unfair treatment.
What Is Considered Unfair Treatment at Work?
Many things may happen at work that you do not like, including your boss playing favorites amongst the employees. Certain people may get preferential treatment for lunch breaks (better times), schedules (more consistent), or other “perks” like allowing other employees to clock out early or not have to perform less desirable tasks like cleaning, inventory, etc. It may feel very unfair. But that does not mean that it is illegal.
Many types of actions would be considered unfair treatment at work under employment law.
Here are some examples of unfair treatment at work:
- Example of sexual harassment: A boss makes sexual advances on one of his team members and then demotes or fires her when she does not accept them or complains about them.
- Example of pregnancy discrimination: A pregnant worker takes time off through Family Medical Leave Act to have her baby. When she returns to work, her employer punishes her by changing her to an unreasonable schedule, adding extra duties she did not have before (such as heavy lifting), or reducing her pay.
- Example of race discrimination: An African American employee is not allowed to take training that propels them to be promoted. In contrast, other employees of various races in the company are given that training and subsequently promoted.
- Example of disability discrimination: A worker who is disabled is not given “reasonable accommodations” in the workplace as defined and provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Example of retaliation: A worker refuses to perform an illegal activity for an employer, such as ignoring safety procedures required by OSHA regulations, and the employer fires the employee on the spot.
In these examples, workers should report an employer for unfair treatment. The above scenarios are only a selection of the various reason when an employee should report an employer for unfair treatment. Employment law protects employees in various categories. Consult with an employment law attorney if you believe you should be filing a complaint against an employer.
How Do You Know You Have a Valid Claim?
Valid claims, as a general rule, would be from unlawful actions performed by an employer to employees that are part of a protected class under federal and/or state laws. These include:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) – if you have a disability, this law covers all aspects of employment – promotions, wages, raises, health insurance, and all other aspects of the job, including working conditions.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) – protects people 40 years of age and older from age-based discrimination.
- Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) – allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for the purpose of attending to a serious health condition of the employee, the employee’s parent, spouse, or child, for pregnancy or care of a newborn child, for adoption or foster placement of a child, or to care for an injured service member in the family, without fear of job loss.
- Florida Whistleblower Act – prohibits employers from terminating employees for uncovering, objecting to, or reporting violations of state laws, rules, or regulations.
Other laws, such as the Florida Civil Rights Act, protect workers across the state as well. If you have a valid claim, you should report your employer for unfair treatment to hold them accountable and get justice.
How to Report Unfair Treatment at Work in Florida
Filing a complaint against an employer should be approached with a strategic focus, including gathering as much documentation and detail as possible.
First, and as soon as possible, it is essential to document the details of the unfair treatment, which can be in a journal, email, texts, or any other type of communication that would create a record of what occurred. Stick to the facts, including who, where, how, dates/times, potential witnesses, and other relevant information involving unfair treatment.
Internally, you can make the report to HR or your boss/supervisor. Know that it is illegal for your company to retaliate against you for reporting unfair treatment. If this occurs, you should contact an employment lawyer right as soon as possible. There are statutes of limitations to filing a case.
What You Should Do After Filing Your Claim
Additionally, claims should be filed with relevant government agencies. For example, if you have a discrimination claim, it can be reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Each situation is different, and claims should be filed to the appropriate government agency for your particular claim.
You do not have to do this alone. If you work with an employee rights lawyer, you have the experience needed to make a strong case and ensure all documentation is filed correctly and on time.
Note: do not talk about your claim online or with others in your workplace. Information disseminated online can harm your ability to win a case. If you speak with untrustworthy co-workers, this could jeopardize your case as well. If you have potential witnesses, your lawyer can handle any interviews needed.
Take action today.
Contact Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. for a free, confidential consultation. We are the employees’ law firm fighting for workplace justice.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.