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How to respond to a violation of your rights in the workplace

When you believe that your employer violates your rights, you have a responsibility to carefully consider your response. Not only do you want to make sure that you keep your rights and privileges protected from potential retaliatory behavior by your employer, you also should consider how your response may affect others in your workplace. Creating workplaces that respect the rights of workers can only happen if those who experience injustice stand up against it.

Before you choose a response to a potential violation of your rights, make sure that you understand exactly what your rights are in your specific workplace. While most employee rights apply to most employees, there are a numerous exceptions. In some cases, you may find that you have fewer protections under the law than you anticipated, altering how you must pursue a just resolution.

Once you understand your rights, you should inform your employer of the violation. This may involve several very uncomfortable meetings with your employer, and it is important to control your behavior during the meeting. Even if you have valid reasons to claim a violation of your rights, you can easily compromise any leverage you have in the matter with unprofessional behavior. Your employer is highly motivated to avoid any sort of allegations of discrimination or mistreatment, so they will pay special attention to any behavior that they may use to undermine the credibility of your claim.

You do not have to face this process alone. Do not be afraid to reach out to an experienced employment law attorney to guide you through this process and keep your rights protected. You have an important opportunity to advance true justice in the workplace, and it is crucial that you use all the tools you have available to fight for safe, respectful workplaces for all.

Source: FindLaw, "Protecting the Rights of Workers," accessed Dec. 29, 2017

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