Lodging A Workplace Claim: Your First Steps

Injury or harassment experienced at the workplace can be life destroying and many feel obligated to not place a claim against their employer for fear of reprisal, punishment or purely out of shame and embarrassment. It can take a lot of courage to overcome these feelings and fears and educating yourself on your rights and responsibilities will go a long way in giving you the confidence to place a workplace claim where necessary.

Your Rights

Unfortunately not all workplace rights are an immediate given and they will vary substantially between country to country and even state to state. Always familiarize yourself further with your relevant governing body when planning the next steps of your workplace claim. That being said, here are some common rights and expectations that many states and countries adhere to in the workplace:

  • The right not to be discriminated against. Potential sources of discrimination may include discrimination against race, nationality, skin colour, gender, age and disability.
  • The right to work in an environment free of harassment
  • The right to be paid for the hours you have worked for an employer
  • The right to work in a safe and hygienic work environment free from the likelihood of injury and physical harm
  • The right to leave your workplace in order to attend to members of your family who are in a critical or life threatening condition or situation
  • The right to a reasonable degree of personal privacy

Approaching Your Employer

Given your individual situation, you may be able to resolve your problem or complaint amicably without the need for a formal workplace claim. Again, this may be a daunting task for many so preparing yourself adequately is imperative in securing a positive outcome. Familiarize yourself with your legal rights as an employee in your state and ensure you you calmly and truthfully present the particulars of your situation. Any deviation from the truth will only harm your chances of lodging a successful workplace claim later down the track. Practice your presentation thoroughly so as to avoid becoming emotional and this will stand you in much better stead to counter questions and queries from your employer. Above all, it is crucial that you remain discreet throughout the process and involve only those who are also implicated in the problem.


The key to a successful workplace claim is thorough and truthful documentation. This will give you more substantial evidence if you choose to seek further legal assistance but will also help give you a clearly and more systematic idea of the problem at hand. Useful documentation could include workplace guidelines, company policies, performance reviews, written correspondence and documented meetings and conversations.

Filing Your Claim

Should you choose to take your claim to a higher authority, it is important that you file your claim as soon as possible. If your claim is due to a specific incident, most jurisdictions will only allow claims to be made within 180 days of the event occurring. The governing body responsible for investigating workplace claims in your state or country will ask you for as much evidence and documentation as you can provide in order to verify your case, so be prepared! If that governing body fails to resolve that dispute, you are then free to consult taking legal action against your employer.

Author Bio: Lisa Matheson is a frequent contributor to a number of blogs offering advice and general support in legal services. Matheson has had extensive industry experience and is currently working with the team at Separovic Lawyers