How to File a Complaint against an Employer

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Most Common Employment Law Issues:

What Is an Employment Complaint?

An employment complaint is a complaint filed by an employee against their employer, supervisor, or company. Employees can file complaints based upon a number of legal causes of actions. The most common types of employment law complaints can involve:

Other complaints may involve other issues like retirement or vacation benefits, hiring procedures, promotions, and family medical leave issues.

How Do I File a Complaint Against an Employer?

Filing a complaint against an employer usually requires that the employee follow specific steps. First, they should file their complaint statement with the internal human resources (HR) department if possible. Filing with HR can often provide a temporary or makeshift solution to the problem. However, this might not always be possible, and it might not always lead to a sufficient remedy (especially if the complaint is with the HR department itself).

Next, the employee must file with a government agency regarding their complaint. There are various government agencies that specialize in investigating specific employment-related conflicts. For instance, if the complaint has to do with discrimination or hiring, the employee should file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). But if the complaint has to do with workplace safety, they must file with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rather than the EEOC.

The government agency will then conduct an investigation into the complaint. If they find the employer to be liable for a violation, they may issue a remedy, such as a damages award, or an order that the employer change their work policies.

If the respective agency fails to conduct an investigation or declines to issue a remedy, the employee can then file a private lawsuit with a civil court. It is important to note that the employee must file with the agency first—only after a filing with the government agency has proven unfruitful can they lodge a civil complaint in court.

Tips for Filing a Complaint

When filling an employment complaint be sure that you include documents and written statements with your complaint. The court is more likely to consider evidence if it’s in the form of writing rather than oral statements. For instance, you may want to keep any work transcripts, hiring/firing forms, wage stubs, and receipts that might be relevant to your claim. Also, if you’re going to obtain a witness statement or admission, it’s always best to get it in writing.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Filing a Complaint?

Filing a complaint against an employer can often be challenging. The process can take some time, and may involve several difficult steps. You may wish to hire a qualified employment lawyer for help during the process. Your attorney can guide you through the steps you need to follow and can represent you during any hearings.

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Last Modified: 10-03-2014 03:08 PM PDT

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