Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Keep a List of All Employment Actions Taken Against You!

As soon as you feel you are the victim of a tangible employment action (e.g., malicious suspension, malicious demotion, baseless denial of a promotion, forced transfer to a menial job or hard to reach location, a pay cut under false pretenses, etc.), you should create and maintain an employment action log. An employment action log can help you keep track of every negative employment action that your employer executes against you and can help show that your employer is suddenly focusing a lot of negative energy on you.

An employment action log should contain detailed information about:

--The date of the employment action;

--The specific kind of employment action taken (e.g., details about a suspension);

--Your employer’s stated reason for the employment action;

--The name of the person who informed you of the action and anyone in attendance at the meeting;

--Why the action is unjustified or how it violates company policy;

--Your official response, if any, to the employment action (e.g., a memo against the action); and

--The next steps you need to take to deal with the action (e.g., contacting HR, filing an internal complaint, etc.).

An employment action log can be helpful in proving harassment and retaliation by showing that employment actions taken against you were unjust and meant to negatively impact your position and career, to intentionally cause you emotional distress by creating a hostile and offensive work environment, were designed to set you up for future employment actions (including termination), and/or were a method of punishing you for complaining of mistreatment, misconduct, etc.

An employment action log can also demonstrate that your employer is violating its own written policies and procedures. For instance, if you are placed on probation based on false allegations, you can go to your company’s personnel manual to see how your employer is supposed to handle management or personnel issues.

If the personnel manual says that an employee should be given 1) an oral warning; 2) a written warning; and 3) be placed on probation, your employer would have to answer why they jumped to step #3 of their own process to implement the employment action of placing you on probation, with termination potentially warranted at the end of a specified number of days/months. They have to justify why your behavior was allegedly so egregious that they violated their own policies.

Remember to faithfully update your log as events happen, so that you are documenting incidences that are fresh in your mind.


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