Most of us avoid conflict whenever we can. It’s uncomfortable to argue with others, whether they are family or coworkers. But when you have suffered disparagement or harm from a company, holding the organization accountable can be very difficult, if not impossible. Going against their armour-plated policies and stalwart legal team, you might feel like David confronting Goliath, with an even smaller chance of success.
Nevertheless, don’t back down. Stand up for your rights by taking proactive steps. Consider hiring a lawyer to discuss your concerns, and prepare for your meeting by organizing all related documentation that may help to support your claim. If you are not sure what you should do, give the matter some thought and prepare your mindset and approach.
1. Establish a Timeline.
Make a list of key dates, names, locations, and events that detail activities or interactions that contributed to the situation. You may need to include some things that happened a little before the critical period to provide context for people unfamiliar with the situation.
2. Reference Your Journal.
If you kept a personal or a professional diary or journal during the time period in question, review the sections that include references to your conflict with the company that has wronged you. If you don’t have a journal, describe your memories of the main events, and include facts such as names, dates, locations, and explanations. Try to remain objective and keep the focus on the situation that has resulted in conflict at work.
3. Discuss with Potential Witnesses.
This can be tricky because you don’t want to consult those in the company which may eventually stand against you. But you may have allies with whom you can discuss the matter, especially if they witnessed events that support your side of the issue. Coworkers or team members might be able to verify your version of events. Ask permission to record their comments for further review, even if they do not want you to share them with others, like an attorney or company managers. If you have a mentor or professional coach, this might also be the type of problem to discuss with that person.
4. Consult Appropriate Professionals.
Depending on the company’s business, you may be able to contact professional representatives beyond your immediate employer. These entities include the Union steward if you belong to a Union, the legal profession’s Bar association, the local medical association, and so on. You might want to talk to an attorney specializing in this type of grievance. Even if you are not sure you have grounds for litigation, you can receive helpful advice and support, along with important information to help you decide how to move forward with your concern.
5. Collect Relevant Documentation.
In addition to your personal journal and notes from or about discussions with others, you should organize copies of records that support your contention. Company handbooks, policies, and correspondence, including letters and emails or even text messages, should be printed and organized in chronological order for ready access by those who will need to read them. Be sure to redact the names of persons and details listed in the documents which are not involved with the situation.
6. Maintain Civility.
Whether or not you remain employed with or connected to the company with whom you are at odds, it is important to remain respectful during any conversations or other types of communication. Courteous people tend to get better results, no matter who they talk to. In contrast, you don’t have to water down your concern or pretend that it does not bother you; effective listening and polite disagreement, rather than rude arguments and loud complaints, help further your goals for a positive resolution.
7. Practice Integrity.
Always be honest when discussing your concerns about a company that has wronged you. Although it may be tempting to pad your complaint or fudge the facts in your favour, chances are you will be caught, and your case will be weakened or dismissed. If found to be untruthful, you will likely lose the trust of everyone involved as well as those who hear about the situation. Besides, everyone sleeps better at night with a clear conscience.
It can be daunting for an individual to go up against a well-established business, but as long as you are in the right, you have every chance to be successful. Stay calm, get organized, be prepared, and trust that things will work out as they should.