“We all make mistakes sometimes.” This common saying is popular for a reason; it’s inherently true. No one, in the history of the world, has ever breezed through life without making a single error or misstep.
In life, we tend to accept this; sometimes, things will go wrong. The e-commerce store we ordered a product from makes a mistake with an order. Well, these things happen. Your friend stands you up for an important appointment. Okay, not ideal, but not something you’re going to end the friendship over.
When it comes to the workplace, should we extend the same benefit of the doubt? Employers can, and do, make mistakes. They can fail to rectify issues with workplace safety or make a mistake on your check. Or, they may misjudge the action required to remedy accusations of sexual or workplace harassment. If the company is informed of their error and resolves it, all is well. Then, the mistake is an outlier. However…
What if your employer doesn’t learn?
Unfortunately, some employers simply don’t learn. Sure, they make one or two mistakes. But, in the end, they fail to truly strive to avoid making the same mistake in future. It’s at this point, when the second mistake occurs, that employees tend to struggle the most. They’ve gone by the general rules of fair play. They’ve provided an opportunity for their employer to do better in future, but their employer hasn’t – so what can an employee do next?
Separating the good companies from the bad
Let’s suppose that you have raised the issue to your employer. Yet, they have failed to remedy it to your satisfaction. Chances are, you are right to feel skeptical that they ever will. Any good company will see these transgressions as a red flag. Normally, they will do all they can to prevent them from recurring in future, particularly for sensitive issues such as sexual and workplace harassment or workplace safety. If a company doesn’t go above and beyond to resolve the issue first time without a genuine excuse, then that’s a bad sign. And so, giving them a second chance is inadvisable.
Escalating the issue
The type of escalation available to you will depend on the mistake for which you are seeking recourse. If your employer has failed to take action over workplace safety, then contacting your local authority or licensing board (potentially anonymously) can be a good choice. If they have failed to act on workplace harassment accusations, you can contact sexual harassment attorneys for further assistance. However, for smaller issues without this legal or legislative backing, there may be little outside assistance you can obtain.
If this is the case, you then have a choice. You can submit a second complaint to your employer and hope it is taken more seriously. While this is an imperfect solution, it is usually preferable to giving a second chance without further stating the point. In most cases, just hoping the matter will eventually be dealt with in a better way is unlikely to be successful. So, raise the issue again. In the meantime, consider looking for a job elsewhere.
No worker is required just to accept their employer’s incompetence or mistakes. You have a right to a good non-toxic working environment. While it’s good to provide an opportunity for issues to be rectified, a second chance should also be treated as the last chance. If your employer fails to make the grade, then feel empowered to escalate the matter further in an effort to resolve the issue once and for all.
*Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links