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How can I report my employer for unfair treatment in the workplace?

Nashville, TN |

I was given a final warning write up by the regional manager for job performance but she was sending me emails to do my immediate supervisor's work which pulled me from my daily duties , this thhe same company that promoted me and demoted with a pay cut only to continue doing the same job I was doing as a manager. I changed nothing about the way I completed the work. I have emails showing my job would not be in jeopardy and i was never given a reason for being demoted. And i have the emails where I was told to do my supervisor's work. I recently went to the emergency room from work by ambulance for my diagnoises to be stress related and it is my job. I am always in fear of being fired.

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Attorney answers 3


Employers generally have broad discretion to manage their work force and operations. In fact, employers may make decisions or enforce requirements that seem wrong, unfair, or stupid -- and it's not illegal. There are some exceptions, however. For example, an employer may not make employment decisions based on an employee's race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age or disability. If you feel that you are being targeted for one of those unlawful reasons, then you should consult in person with an employment lawyer or file a charge of discrimination with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Otherwise, it may be time to start looking for a better job. I'm sorry that you are going through this situation, and I wish you good luck.


I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.

You asked about reporting your employer for unfair treatment, but there is nowhere to report unfair treatment because it is not illegal, in and of itself. Employees have very few employment rights, and employers have a lot of leeway in how they choose to run their businesses. In general, an employer can be unfair, obnoxious or bad at management. There are some limitations, mostly in the areas of public policy (such as discrimination law), contract law, union-employer labor relations, and constitutional due process. Please look at my Avvo guide to at-will employment which may help you understand your rights:

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***


My colleagues give you good advice. There are only limited rights available to employees, and there is no available protection for employer conduct that is merely unfair unless it violates a written employment agreement or constitutes unlawful discrimination or retaliation.

And the fact that you find your employment circumstances to be unduly stressful does not, in and of itself, suggest any particular remedy. It sounds as though your fear of being fired may well be justified.

You can consult with a local attorney. But the other thing that you need to do is to start looking for another job.

Good luck to you.

Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.

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