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Is it Ever OK to Complain about Your Supervisor?

Gathering around the water cooler and “venting” about nasty bosses or unreasonable supervisors is an age-old tradition. Unfortunately, it is one that can get you into a bind and ruin your professional relationships. As tempting as it might be to complain about your boss to co-workers or anyone else in your company, you should avoid it at all costs. Never say anything about your boss that you would not say to his or her face (the exception to this is perhaps your spouse or close friends outside of work. Vent all you want at home!)

Unfortunately, there are some circumstances that are so bad that you have no choice but to complain – but you need to do so effectively. Just whining or ranting in general to anyone who will listen is not enough. If your boss has crossed the line from difficult to work with to harassment or abuse, you need to speak up and notify an authority figure (usually human resources) in your company.

So how do you know when complaining or reporting is appropriate, as opposed to just blowing off steam?

You are Asked to Record Dishonest Information on Your Time Sheet

Your paycheck is protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act, so if your employer is asking you to lie about the hours you are working or you were not paid for overtime pay, you earned you have a right to take action.

You Face Harassment or Discrimination

If your employer is breaking the law in their treatment of you, it is important to take action. When mistreatment relates to your race, gender, age, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, genetic information, or pregnancy, you are within your rights to complain. If your complaint triggers no action, you can go outside of your company and take legal action.

You Take Action as a Whistleblower

If your employer is violating the law, you must report the misconduct. In some cases, you should immediately put the complaint in writing and report it to an organization outside of the company. Common whistleblower accusations include cheating the government out of money, Medicare fraud, polluting, and abusing workers.

Ideally, put your complaints about your employer in writing. This can be in addition to a verbal complaint. Written complaints create a paper trail that protects you in the future if there is retaliation or if follow-up complaints are necessary.

If you are unhappy about your work situation and you believe legal action is necessary, we can help. Contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to discuss your workplace complaints and determine if your concerns are valid enough to take legal action.


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