Stamping Out Unfair Treatment on the Job
Q: I am a faculty representative for my education association. We have received a number of complaints about supervisors who harass instructional personnel, but not in a sexual manner. The complaints are mostly about supervisors who target individuals for unfair treatment--for example, consistently assigning them to do outside duty that is normally rotated. I am interested in doing computer research to find similar cases--especially those that have gone to mediation or arbitration. Where do I begin?
A: You are not likely to get much help with your complaint from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA handles only hazards " recognized as being likely to cause death or serious physical injury." These days, it spends most of its time on complaints of high-level toxic spills and such. And given that it is a completely overburdened bureaucracy, it handles precious few of these.
Your better bet is to attempt to resolve the dispute more informally, in your own workplace. It sounds as if you already have some standards in place. If they are not strong enough, lobby to get more strict ones. If they are not sufficiently enforced, call attention to that. Best of all, management is likely to take your complaint more seriously if a number of employees join in it. Ask for a meeting with supervisors and top execs and lay out your complaints, asking for a way to get a common sense solution to make the workplace safer for all of you. The more rational solutions you can propose, the better.
You will probably not be able to get reimbursed for time missed from your day job.
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