How Does The Employer’s Internal Complaint Process Work If Someone Reports That Their Rights Are Being Violated In The Workplace?
The internal complaint process depends on the employer, and usually these are spelled out in documents like an employee handbook. In terms of the reporting requirements, federal employees must report to the EEOC office within their agency. Employees who work for the University of California Regents, such as working within the hospital system or the student store at UCLA, employees must go through an internal process within the UC system. If the employee believes that trying to resolve the issue through the internal system will be futile and decides to go straight to court, the employee might lose their right to sue.
In most other circumstances, the employee is not mandated to go through the internal complaint process the employer lists in its handbook. It is complicated, because if an employee works for the company and is a member of a union, then they are going to have a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or memorandum of understanding (MOU), which will likely mandate that the employee follow the internal processes or grievance procedures before bringing a claim in court.
It’s not a simple answer, but when it comes to a typical employer that has an internal process for lodging complaints, an employee generally won’t be forced to follow that process. However, prior to making that decision, the employee should review the employee handbook and consult with experienced counsel who can address their situation and develop a strategy to address the problems the employee is facing.
Will I Be Protected From Workplace Retaliation If I File A Complaint With My Company While I Still Work There?
Employee handbooks always state that employees are protected against employer retaliation when they report discrimination or conduct they think is illegal. But many people wonder whether that’s something they can actually count on. The answer depends on a few factors. Employers of all kinds have written policies that they may follow some or most of the time, but very few employers follow all of their written policies all of the time. There have been cases of employer retaliation against employees who reported against a high-level manager who decided to take it very personally and take some sort of revenge. The ability to put a stop to this type of retaliation may be limited depending on how much power the retaliator has within the company.
Under California law, an employer who retaliates against an employee will face consequences, including having to provide compensation to the employee for lost opportunities, such as through demotion or the elimination of overtime. It can also include restoring an employee to a position they were taken out of, which is referred to as injunctive or declaratory relief, if the employee is suspended or fired. The state of California recognizes that even if the employer has a written policy of non-retaliation, retaliation may still occur, and so there needs to be remedies available for that, which the employee should discuss with skilled employment counsel, such as myself.
How Long Does The EEOC Have To Resolve Or Address A Complaint?
The length of time that the EEOC has to resolve or address a complaint depends on the nature of the complaint and what the EEOC will need to do in order to investigate the complaint. Due to COVID-19, governmental agencies have had their budgets cut, and as a result, may have fewer personnel available to investigate complaints. There is not a specific deadline by which every complaint must be addressed or resolved.
When the EEOC receives a complaint, the employee is usually in a position to say that they don’t need the EEOC to investigate it, and may request a right to sue instead. Alternatively, after a period of time of investigation by the EEOC, the employee may request a letter authorizing them to move forward with a lawsuit. Once again, this is a situation where the employee should be consulting with experienced, skilled employment counsel.
What Are Some Potential Remedies For Employment Law Issues Like Retaliation Or Discrimination?
The remedies available to address employment law issues depend on the type of adverse action that has occurred with the employee. Employees may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, emotional distress, medical expenses, and other types of lost opportunity or monetary benefits, such as retirement benefits lost. Depending upon the nature of the lawsuit, the employee may be entitled to recover attorney fees, and injunctive or other equitable relief, such as promotion to a new position or assignment to a position that the employee had previously been denied or taken out of.
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