If you have encountered mistreatment in the workplace or misconduct by your Georgia employer, you may need to consider filing a complaint with your employer’s human resources department. Many employees in your position choose to take action after a violation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, other anti-discrimination statutes, wage and hour regulations, and other employment laws. Like you, they are looking for options to resolve employer-employee disputes, address their concerns about wrongdoing, and improve the work environment.
However, some employees make the mistake of thinking they do not need legal advice when filing an HR complaint, since it is an internal matter and not a lawsuit. The problem is that workplace misconduct does touch on your civil rights, and your circumstances could give rise to litigation. You are at a disadvantage without representation, so consulting with a Georgia employment discrimination and harassment lawyer should be a priority. Plus, you should also keep in mind some tips and best practices about HR complaints.
- Know when to file an HR complaint. Part of knowing is being able to recognize when your Georgia employer has violated federal or state law through unfair treatment, allowing a hostile work environment, failure to pay proper wages, or other misconduct. The other aspect of this tip is understanding the time limits that may apply to your claim if you take steps beyond filing with HR. For instance, if you intend to file a charge with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you have 180 days from the date discrimination occurred.
- Comply with all requirements established by your employer’s complaint policies. If your employer has staffed a human resources department, there is a good chance that there are also documented policies regarding how to file a grievance. You should strictly follow the rules on:
- Who to notify;
- What forms to fill out;
- Confidentiality; and,
- Any other procedures.
- Make sure you include essential information. Your employer needs to be aware of the specifics and understand your position in order to respond in an effective, appropriate way. Many disputes in the workplace are a result of mistakes or misunderstandings, so set the record straight by including details on:
- Who was involved;
- The time, date, and location of the incident or series of actions;
- Emails, texts, memos, and other communications;
- Quotes, pictures, and relevant documents; and,
- How the misconduct violates the law.
- Be aware of your rights after filing an HR complaint. Remain vigilant after reaching out to your human resources department, since certain actions by your employer could violate laws on unlawful retaliation. It is illegal to target employees for participating in protected activities, such as filing a grievance with the company, opening a charge with the EEOC, cooperating with government agencies investigating your employer, and many other types of conduct. You could have a claim for retaliation if your employer reacts to your HR complaint by:
- Terminating or demoting you;
- Reducing your wages;
- Changing your work schedule, shift, or location;
- Including a poor performance review in your employee file;
- Taking away employee benefits; and,
- Many other types of adverse action.
Our Georgia Employment Discrimination Attorneys Can Assist
If you need legal counsel in connection with filing an HR complaint or suffered retaliation after doing so, it is important to seek legal counsel right away. Our experienced lawyers at the Vaughn Law Firm can advise you and assist with pursuing your options, so please contact our Decatur, GA office today to speak to a member of our team. You can schedule a free consultation by calling 877.615.9495 or checking us out online.