Know Your Rights: How to Deal with Office Misconduct

Employees often forget they have rights. There’s such a cultural mindset of being ridden by “The Man” that many forms of misconduct go unpunished. People just see it as an example of them being trampled on by those who are bigger and richer. Then they move on.

Worse yet, there are those who knows their rights are being violated, but decide not to take action. Maybe once in a blue moon, this could be construed as a smart move. But if it’s something that’s really upset them, or something that is happening persistently? Why would they not report it? Simple: they don’t want to rock the boat. They don’t want to risk losing their job.

Should I fight back?

Yes. Of course, there are different degrees of “fighting back”. In its lesser form, to fight back in this scenario means to simply not do nothing. People who mistreat others in the workplace continue to do so because they’ve not been adequately challenged. People have always taken their behaviour to be a display of “the horrible boss” or “the annoying co-worker”. They thought it would be taking it too far to actually take any action against it.

Ever heard the old Edmund Burke quote? “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Aside from its implicit androcentricity (good women also exist, after all), it’s a great quote to remember. When you take action against someone who mistreats you, you take action against the possibility of them doing it to someone else. You have rights in the workplace. If someone is mistreating you, go to the human resources department of your company. Make sure you’ve done everything you can do internally to have the matter resolved. And if nothing is done by that department? Look into getting legal assistance. Firms that deal with employee rights include the Dolman Law Group.

Unfair dismissal

A lot of people feel strongly when they’re dismissed from their job. But let’s face it. Not everyone who claims their dismissal was unfair are correct in doing so! However, there are several instances in which a dismissal is actually legally unfair. If you’ve been dismissed, then you need to carefully assess why you were dismissed. Make sure you get some kind of clarification as to why you were dismissed. If possible, get explanations from several sources. You should get this in written form.

fired board

So, why were you dismissed? If they were unable to provide a reason, or accounts are contradictory, then it was probably unfair. Was the company’s formal dismissal process followed to a T? If not, then it was almost certainly unfair. If a reason was provided, then you need to be sure it was a fair reason. Are you being let go because you didn’t want to work more hours than you’re contracted to work? Because you wouldn’t keep working through your designated lunch breaks? Then you’ve been dismissed unfairly. No matter how busy your company is, your performing of extra hours should always be voluntary.

If you’ve been dismissed for applying for or taking time off that the law says you’re entitled to, then you’ve been dismissed unfairly. You can’t be dismissed for taking time for jury service or maternal/paternal reasons. There a lot of other unfair possibilities here, so make sure to research unfair dismissal thoroughly.

Sexual harassment

You’d think that by 2016 we’d have gotten past this one, right? Unfortunately, no. Sexual harassment in the workplace is still a possibility. It can range from relatively low-level cases such as unwanted flirting to more severe instances such as physical contact. (Note the emphasis on relatively. Talk can be low-level compared to physical harassment, but do not take that phrase to mean you should take unwanted flirting lightly. An unwanted advance, physical or not, is still a serious issue.)

Historically, this problem has mostly affected women. Why? That would be our old friend sexism, which seems to lead some professional males to believe that women should suffer their advances. However, you shouldn’t take this to mean that men aren’t also victims of sexual harassment. It’s a nasty issue than can affect anyone.


If you feF-The_Blackmailel that someone has made a move on you that you feel is inappropriate, the right move isn’t always to yell to higher authorities. If you can, you should try to talk to the person and let them know you weren’t okay with what just happened. An unwanted advance doesn’t mean that the other person is bad, necessarily. They could just be just as embarrassed as you about the situation. However, this is more likely to be the outcome of a single instance. If it’s persistent, then you should consider all of your options. Understand that when this person placed you in an uncomfortable position then, by rights, they placed themselves in the line of fire.

Whatever you do, take action as soon as you feel uncomfortable. Regardless of your sex or gender, you should not feel this way at work. And if you’ve been hurt emotionally in the proceedings, do not be afraid to seek the help of friends or professionals.

Leaving a job due to employer’s conduct

Many people will leave their job as soon as something really bad happens. Let’s say your employer suddenly docks your pay or demotes you for no clear or good reason. Or attempts too persistently to have you work more hours or different shifts than your contract stipulates.

The response to this, for many people, is to simply quit. This is a rational response; well done! But if you felt you had to quit because of misconduct, then you could take legal action. If you’ve essentially been forced to leave your job, this is called constructive dismissal. If you attempted to talk to your employer to resolve the issue, be sure to get a record of that correspondence. If you are able to prove both the misconduct and your company’s unwillingness to take action, then you may be able to sue them. If you have a case for constructive dismissal, be sure to leave your job and start the proceedings as soon as possible. You don’t want your elongated employment to be taken to mean you accepted the treatment.

This post has been contributed by Ryan Gatt, it contains affiliate links.

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1 Response to Know Your Rights: How to Deal with Office Misconduct

  1. Pingback: The Biggest Issues Still Facing Women In The Workplace | Always Be Job Hunting

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