If you have a problem at work and decide to take action, most likely your first thought is to go to human resources. This is a natural inclination for most employees. But depending on the details of your situation, it is not always a wise decision. In fact, it could end up hurting you in the long run.
Employment law attorneys with experience in these situations can explain why complaining to HR is a bad idea. This article, written by a former human resources investigator, also provides interesting insight about the negative impact to employees when they do so. Here are few reasons why it is in your interest to consult an attorney, rather than human resources, before filing an internal complaint:
- Your human resources contact is not your friend.
Companies typically paint these departments as a source of guidance for employees, whether you have a question about health insurance coverage or a problem with a coworker. The reality is that the company employs these individuals, not you. Their actions are likely going to be in the company's interest - not yours.
- You might say something you regret.
If your complaint is serious enough to warrant a lawsuit against the company, everything you say will be documented, which they could use to discredit your claim. Only when you consult with an attorney will you know whether you have a claim. They can give you advice and form a complaint that protects you and your rights.
As the above article states, those in the human resources office are going to advise managers, supervisors and executives of complaints because those individuals want to be kept in the loop. They could retaliate against you before you are able to gather crucial documentation for your case.
If you encounter wrongdoing at your job, it's understandable to be fearful of speaking up. You should not be afraid to address the wrongdoing. Rather, in these high-risk situations, make sure you are getting help from the right parties. An experienced employment law attorney can offer an impartial viewpoint, protect your rights and give you guidance on how to proceed.