If you suspect you are being “managed” toward termination from your job, especially for potentially unlawful reasons, it’s vital to be proactive, informed, and cautious. Taking specific steps can help ensure that, should the need arise, you are in a strong position to take legal action. Here are some steps to consider:
Document Everything: Maintain a detailed record of all interactions, meetings, evaluations, and communications that seem relevant. This should include:
- Dates, times, locations
- People involved
- The nature of discussions or actions
- Any witnessed discriminatory or retaliatory comments or behavior
Know the Policies: Familiarize yourself with the company’s employee handbook or policies. This can provide clarity on procedures and your rights within the company. Look for processes related to:
- Performance evaluations
- Disciplinary actions
Performance Evaluations: If your performance is being criticized, try to obtain objective evidence to counter any unfounded claims. Keep records of positive feedback, completed tasks, or any metrics that show you’re performing your job adequately.
Seek Clarification: If you’re given vague or confusing feedback, ask for specific examples and ways you can improve. This not only shows your commitment to improvement but can also highlight any inconsistencies in their criticisms.
Stay Professional: No matter how you feel you’re being treated, always act professionally. Don’t give the employer any legitimate reasons to discipline or terminate you.
Communicate in Writing: Whenever possible, communicate through email or other written forms, so you have a record of all interactions. If you have verbal discussions, consider following up with an email summarizing the conversation.
Report Concerns: If you believe the treatment is due to discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, report your concerns to HR or the appropriate department within the company, preferably in writing.
Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with state and federal employment laws. This can help you recognize if and when your rights are being violated. Laws like the ADA, FMLA, Title VII, and the ADEA protect employees from various forms of discrimination and retaliation.
Consult with an Employment Attorney: If you believe you’re being managed out unlawfully, it is worth consulting with an employment attorney. They can provide advice tailored to your situation.
Secure Personal Files: Backup any personal files or emails from your work computer or devices, but be sure not to take any proprietary or company confidential information. Always ensure you’re in compliance with all company policies.
- Witnesses: If any colleagues have observed the behavior in question or have been treated similarly, take note. They might be willing to serve as witnesses should there be a legal case in the future.
- Continue performing to the best of your ability. Your ongoing professionalism and dedication can be a crucial aspect of any potential legal case in the future.