The thought of calling a New York employment law attorney may fill you with anxiety or dread, for reasons you can’t quite put your finger on. Even though your boss harassed you — or a client or coworker said hurtful racially or sexually inappropriate comments — you’re worried. What will happen if/when you complain? Will you lose your job? Will things get better… or worse?
Subconscious or unconscious resistance can prevent many victims from getting the help they need. Let us take a look at 4 common rationales people use to defer taking action:
1. “The situation isn’t that bad – it’s going to get better.”
For instance, perhaps your boss has been forcing you to work off the clock, or your manager’s been skimming your tips. In the grand scheme of things, it’s an injustice, but it’s not the biggest injustice the world has ever seen. You’re sure things will eventually change… but they never do. And as the months and years drag on, the amount of money stolen really starts to add up.
2. “The situation is uncomfortable and unfair, but it’s not worth going to court over.”
Many victims of harassment or discrimination operate under the assumption that talking to a lawyer obligates them to go to court or to get involved in a complex legal battle. The truth is far different. First of all, most cases – even egregious ones – settle out of court. Second of all, just calling an attorney doesn’t commit you to anything. The call just helps you understand what you might be up against and what your legal options might be.
3. “I can trust Human Resources (or my supervisor’s supervisor) to sort this all out.”
You might be in luck. Your Human Resources department might be on top of its game. Your supervisor’s supervisor might come down like a hammer on any bad behavior. Then again, you might be overestimating the power of these resources. Plus, it never hurts to get an objective assessment from outside your company – to figure out what your real options are.
4. “I’m scared that, if I complain, I’ll lose my job or life at work will become unbearable.”
This is a very common fear. You need a paycheck. You need to put food on your table. You accept that not everything in life is “roses and birthday cake.” But consider the following. First of all, your employer cannot legally retaliate against you by demoting you or firing you. Second, appreciate that you deserve respect and fair treatment, no matter where you work.
For help understanding your rights and remedies, call the Joseph & Kirschenbaum team at (212) 688-5640, or email us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.