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Want to sue your employer? Follow these three guidelines

Unfortunately, your workplace is not always a positive environment. Sometimes, where you work is discriminatory or uncomfortable. If this is your situation, you may be thinking about suing your employer. Common reasons for employees to sue their bosses include:

  • Discrimination
  • Wage and hour issues
  • Wrongful termination
  • Harassment
  • Denials for family and medical leave
  • Retaliation

If any of these things are happening to you, you may feel the temptation to bring a lawsuit against your workplace. Here are some general guidelines to follow when pursuing a legal claim: 

1. Complain in writing

You may assume it is sufficient to complain or report issues orally to your supervisor or HR manager. This is shaky ground because it is only your word against theirs. You can prevent the "he said, she said" complications by communicating your concerns via letters or emails. This creates a record of your complaints so your employer cannot ignore or deny them. 

2. Start a journal

Do not try to rely on your memories to substantiate your claim. Take note of the following details in a journal:

  • Dates
  • Times
  • Places
  • Witnesses
  • Events
  • Documents

Keep everything in your journal professional because it may be used as evidence in court. Do not leave your journal somewhere your boss can find it, like your work desk.

3. Do not try to be your own lawyer

While you are thinking about suing your employer, you may learn about employment terms such as:

  • Hostile work environment
  • Retaliation
  • Whistleblowing

Just because you read about these words does not mean you are a legal expert, so do not use these terms in your communications. If you use a term or phrase in the wrong manner, you may look like an unreasonable bully. Leave the details to an employment lawyer. 

You may want to take legal action against your employer as soon as possible, but it is important to do some preparation first. Make sure you build your evidence before pursuing a case.

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