It is very important for employees who witness wrongdoing , discrimination, harassment, or any other prohibited act at work to document and make a record of the relevant facts. In many cases a written record can make all the difference because the record makes it more challenging for an employer to deny the existence of a complaint.
Even before registering a complaint, it is always a good idea to review your company’s policies and employee handbook. This information may provide a specific protocol and identify individuals within the company who should receive the complaint. This is especially important if an employee’s immediate supervisor is the wrongdoer. If there is a HR complaint line, it is wise to call and provide a written follow up to your employer in the way of an e-mail documenting the issues.
If your complaint results in adverse actions such as a poor performance review or a suspension it is important to once again document your concerns. However, should the worst happen, and your employer fires you there are a few things you should do immediately to protect yourself.
First, and perhaps the single most important thing you can do, is to request a copy of your employment personnel file. Oregon law entitles you to receive a copy, including pay records, any notes from supervisors, any complaints you registered and all other documents. It is permissible for the employer to charge you a reasonable fee for copies. By requesting the file immediately you are more likely to receive the full contents of the file. The information in the file is a key part of any potential claim and will permit any attorney you contact to provide you with the best advice possible.