When it comes to employment, wrongdoings or misconduct are not only limited to the employees of the company. Sometimes, even the employers themselves make violations that are far greater than those committed by the employees. However, since these people are in higher positions, their misconducts are often overlooked, making them believe that they can get away with it simply because of their authority.
There are some conditions that should be met to know whether a violation is a misconduct or not, since a violation by itself is not misconduct.
- The rule violated is sensible.
- The employer is aware that his actions go against the rule.
- The violation is wrong and done deliberately.
But employees have the right to inform the appropriate people about employer misconduct, especially if they broke a state or federal law that may cause harm to the other employees and to the status of the company. Before an employee notifies his supervisor about the misconduct, there are some steps he should take.
- If the misconduct is considered an illegal activity, the employee should bring the matter to the supervisor's superior. Otherwise, give the employer an initial verbal warning. If the same violation occurs, give him a final written warning. Remember to document everything that was discussed in both instances of warning.
- It will be better for the employee to have a witness to his every move and whereabouts. Be with the company of fellow employees; inform them about the misconduct if necessary. A similar instance may even come up from others.
- The final step is to take the matter to the superiors, since they will be the ones to decide on the punishment if ever the misconduct was proven true.
In reporting employer misconduct, it is important to put in detail everything that happened: the misconduct, the warnings, and the rumors about similar misconducts witnessed by other employees.
This action from the employee often causes retaliation from the employer. However, this is not tolerable under the law. Employers cannot retaliate or take disciplinary actions toward the employee like:
- Removing or suspending the employee
- Withholding or reducing his salary or benefits
- Reassigning or transferring without prior notice and permission
- Denying a much-deserved promotion
If the employee thinks his employer is guilty of retaliation, he may file charges against the employer. If the employer gets convicted, he may be imprisoned for maximum of 10 years or slapped with a $50,000 fine.