If You Are A Union Member, Contact The Union Immediately. If You Are An At-Will Employee, Go To Step 3
Make sure you report the action to the appropriate union person so they may grieve the adverse action. Don't assume that just because you told your shop steward that he/she has followed up with the appropriate person at the union. If you fail to grieve the adverse action, you may lose any right to pursue a claim if it turns out your issue is covered under your collective bargaining agreement. There are some independent state law claims, such as discrimination, that you can pursue outside of the grievance process. But if it turns out the action or treatment was not discriminatory and you did not grieve the adverse action, your right to pursue a claim through the grievance process will have been lost if you did not file a grievance in time. So err on the side of caution by contacting the union about what happened and make sure a grievance is filed. Then contact an attorney to discuss your circumstances to see if you have a claim that could be asserted outside the grievance process.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Collective Bargaining Agreement
Make sure you read your collective bargaining agreement section on discipline/grievance which typically set out the time deadlines for filing a grievance. Each collective bargaining agreement is different so if something happens to you, read the agreement to make sure you know when a grievance must be filed. Then stay on top of the union to make sure they are aware of what happened and are protecting your deadline for filing a grievance.
If You Are An At-Will Employee, Check Your Employee Handbook
If you are at-will and have an employee handbook, check to see if there is an appeal process by which you can appeal the adverse employment action. Watch out for short deadlines and make sure you exhaust those steps set forth in the handbook. Consult with an attorney who may be able to advise you on any other rights you may have concerning your circumstances.
Document What Happened
Whether you are dealing with a union representative or an attorney, document the specifics of what happened. Include detail as to time, dates, persons present and the facts of what occurred. Identify the names and contact information for any witnesses who could verify what happened.