Dealing with Complaints in the Workplace | Aiman-Smith & Marcy
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Dealing with Complaints in the Workplace: Know Your Rights When You are an Employee

Even if you love your job, you might find that you disagree with your employer from time to time.  If you truly disagree with what is happening within your organization, it can become difficult to perform your job requirements.  Likewise, if you are frustrated with management decisions, company policies, or if you are concerned about the well-being of your organization, you really cannot perform at your full ability.

If you have issues or frustrations with your employer, you owe it to yourself and the company to discuss these concerns with your supervisor.  Of course, no one wants to lose their job over disagreements, so it is very important to remain professional and matter-of-fact. Here are five steps to addressing your concerns with your employer that will not earn you a pink slip.

First, sit down with a pad of paper and write down all of your concerns, and why these items bother you as a professional.  Are these concerns that are non-negotiable and must be taken care of immediately, or can they wait a few weeks or months to be addressed?  Do you have solutions to these concerns that would make your job easier or more efficient? Thoroughly examine your thoughts on the matters at hand, make complete and detailed notes, and then set the notes aside for a day or two.  After a couple days, re-read your notes and see if you have anything to add or take away.

Look through the website of the Department of Labor to see if the issues that you have noticed might have legal implications.  If someone in your workplace might be breaking the law, it is important that it is addressed immediately. You can find more information on workplace laws at the following web pages: Summary of the Major Laws of the Department of Labor and/or Federal Labor Laws & State Employment Laws.

Now, ask for an informal meeting with your supervisor.  Give them a short, non-detailed description of what you would like to discuss, and let them know that you would like to discuss the situation right away.  By previewing the topic and demanding a meeting in the short term, you are letting your supervisor know that you are serious and that this is a pressing matter.  Even though it may feel awkward to tell your supervisor what you will be discussing and when, being straightforward sets the tone for the meeting. or Federal Labor Laws & State Employment Laws.

Practice what you will be saying at the meeting.  You want to show that you are confident that what you are saying is important, and you want to be clear and firm.  Harvard University has outlined ten tips to help you express your thoughts precisely and effectively at Ten Tips for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills.

At the meeting, ensure that you have your thoughts and frustrations written down on paper.  This might be the initial notes that you took before you requested the meeting, but you also might want to neatly and precisely write down the items you will be discussing at the meeting.  You might forget information or important points when you are actually speaking to your supervisor, so it is pertinent that you write them down before you arrive at the meeting. Come up with a few possible solutions that you think would work well, and don’t be afraid to share them at the meeting.  This shows that you are not simply complaining, but that you have thought the issue through and hope to find a workable solution for everyone.

Take notes as your supervisor speaks at the meeting.  You might second-guess what was said at the meeting once you leave, but taking notes will allow you be certain about what was said.  It is necessary to have a notepad and pen with you at the meeting, because you might want to write down names, contact numbers, or reference information that  comes up as you speak with your supervisor. You might come up with new solutions or questions as you speak with your employer, so make sure you have the ability to write everything down.

Finally, politely and firmly ask your employer what will be done to address your concerns.  Let your supervisor know that you will not back down from this issue, and you expect a timely and acceptable solution.  You have worked hard to obtain your position, now you must let your employer know that you will also work hard to make the position more enjoyable and effective.  If your supervisor has been taking notes and has offered steps to remedy the situation during your meeting, ask them to forward their notes and ideas to your e-mail address.  Always present yourself as someone who is expecting a positive solution to your concerns.

The best way to deal with frustrations in the workplace is to confront them quickly, intentionally, and completely.  If your concerns are enough to bother you on a daily basis, then they are certainly worth the time and effort to address them with your employer.  If you would like more information on employment law in California, or simply have questions about your rights as an employee, contact our law firm today, or visit our website Aiman-Smith & Marcy.