When Should You File A Workplace Claim

Aug 4, 2021 | Lifestyle

As an employee, you have certain legal rights. These are designed to protect you from any employer behavior that could cause you harm. 

Such legal protections include:

  • The right not to be discriminated against because of your color, gender, religion, sexuality, age, and disability
  • The right to a workplace that is free of harassment
  • The right to be paid a minimum wage
  • The right to work in a safe workplace

But what happens when your legal rights have been breached? Should you sit back and do nothing for the sake of a quiet life? Or should you file a workplace claim against your employer?

Well, there are a number of stages you should go through.

1.  Check your employment rights

We listed a few of your employment rights but there is more detail in this article on federal laws that protect employees. It’s worth reading and other articles like it because you want to make sure you have a case before starting a lawsuit. The whole process can be quite stressful, especially if you have to stay in your place of employment for the duration, so you don’t want to start something that might end in failure. 

There are certain situations where you should be encouraged to file a workplace claim. Such instances can include:

  • Being passed over for promotion for potentially discriminatory reasons
  • Being unlawfully terminated
  • Suffering an injury or illness because of health and safety issues in the workplace
  • Harassment, be that sexual or otherwise
  • Being asked to do something illegal by your employer

This list doesn’t cover every situation but after finding out about the laws that protect your rights, you will know what is and isn’t acceptable.

2.  Speak to your employer

This might not be something you want to do alone so bring along a friend, colleague, or union representative if you need backup and moral support.

A discussion with your employer might resolve the issues you are having. This might be the case if there are disputes over your wage rights, for example, or if you believe they are bullying you. As most employers want to avoid legal tangles, they might listen to your argument and act accordingly for your best interests. In some cases, it might be that they need reminding of the laws that exist and in others, the threat of a lawsuit could be enough to scare them into compliance. 

When speaking to your employer, stick to the facts, talk to them respectfully, and give them a chance to explain themselves. If things are then resolved, you might not decide to go any further.

Of course, you might need to skip this step if it is too late for your employer to do anything. We are thinking of instances where you have already suffered a workplace injury. Or, in a worst-case scenario, when you have fallen ill because of poor workplace conditions. An illness could be stress-related, for example, or it could be something life-threatening. Mesothelioma, an asbestos-related disease, is one possibility. In such instances, you should definitely contact the relevant legal team, such as the folks at this mesothelioma law firm.  

You might also ignore this step if you feel you cannot talk to your employer or if they refuse to talk to you. 

If things are not resolved at this stage, the next step is advised.

3. Gather evidence

If you’re going to make a workplace claim, you will need to document the problems you are having. This can act as evidence for your case. 

So, take note of conversations and events that matter to your case, including the time, date, and names of people who were present at each situation. Gather other information that can help you, such as emails from your employer, written testimony from witnesses, company policies, and medical reports if applicable. 

Be careful, however. You should only collect documents that you are legally allowed to have access to. So don’t try to take or photocopy confidential documents, even if they are related to your issue, as you could compromise your claim.

4.  Consider legal action

After collecting the evidence you need, you have the right to seek legal advice. A lawyer will work with you on your workplace claim, and they will work to get the compensation you are owed. In most cases, the claim will go to an employment tribunal instead of court, and your employer might even try to settle with you before the case goes any further. 

Before filing the claim, ask yourself these questions.

  • Do I have a good enough claim?
  • Can I afford the legal costs?
  • What are my chances of success?

Your lawyer will discuss these questions with you at your first consultation, so listen to the advice they give you. If you do have a strong case, and you are able to afford the legal fees, go ahead with the workplace claim. Hopefully, you will emerge victoriously!


– a contributed post

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