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Empowering Employees: Strategies for Advocating for Yourself in the Workplace

As an employee, it can be difficult to push back against the employer when faced with unfair treatment or policies. But it's important for employees to know their rights and how to advocate for themselves. In this article series, we will explore the concept of "the carrot and the stick" and provide five steps on how to effectively push back against the employer. From understanding employment laws to building a support network, we will delve into the strategies that can help employees to assert their rights and secure fair treatment in the workplace.

This is second part of the three-part series on Mastering Employee Management: Strategies for Motivating, Disciplining and Advocating for Employees.

Talk to the supervisor

Talking to your supervisor is often the first step in addressing any issues you may be facing at the workplace. If you are experiencing unfair treatment or policies, it is essential to communicate your concerns to your supervisor in a respectful manner. Before initiating the conversation, take the time to organize your thoughts and identify specific examples of the issue at hand. Furthermore, when speaking with your supervisor, it’s important to remain calm and avoid becoming defensive or confrontational. Remember that your goal is to work collaboratively towards a solution that benefits both you and the company.

Request a remedy of the situation with a formal complaint

If talking to your supervisor does not provide appropriate results, it may be necessary to escalate the issue to a formal complaint. If you believe that your employer is failing to fulfil their obligations under the employment relationship or violating your rights as an employee, you have the right to demand in writing that the employer remedy the violation or fulfil their obligations. This demand should be made in a professional and respectful manner, outlining the specific issue and the steps required to address it.

According to the applicable Slovenian Employment Relationship Act, the employer has eight days to fulfil their obligations or remedy the breach following the receipt of the written complaint. If the employer fails to do so, you may, within 30 days, apply for judicial redress before the competent employment court. This means that if your employer fails to address the issue, you have legal recourse to seek justice and ensure that your rights as an employee are respected.

File a lawsuit

While it can be daunting to take this step, it is important to remember that you have legal protections and that standing up for yourself can have a positive impact not only on your own situation but also on the wider workplace culture. In taking this step, it is wise to seek legal advice and carefully consider the potential risks and benefits.

Notify the labour inspectorate and/or the advocate of the principle of equality

If you believe that your rights as an employee have been violated, you may also consider notifying the labour inspectorate or the advocate of the principle of equality. These are government bodies responsible for enforcing employment laws and promoting equal treatment in the workplace.

The labour inspectorate investigates complaints related to working conditions, safety, and health, while the advocate of the principle of equality works to prevent discrimination and promote equal treatment regardless of gender, ethnicity, or other factors.

To notify the labour inspectorate or advocate of the principle of equality, you can submit a formal complaint outlining the specific issue and providing any relevant evidence or documentation. These bodies will then investigate the matter and take appropriate action, which may include issuing fines or legal sanctions against the employer.

Termination of employment relationship

Termination of the employment relationship by the employee can be a difficult decision, but it is an option that employees have when faced with continuous or severe unfair treatment in the workplace. Before making this decision, it’s important to carefully consider the consequences, including financial implications. If you do decide to terminate your employment relationship, it’s important to do so with a written notice to the employer.

What you write in the notice is not prescribed by the law since employees may terminate the employment contract at any time, without giving any reason. Nevertheless, it is important that you remain professional and respect the notice period. In the case of extraordinary termination, the employee has the right to terminate the employment contract without notice, however this is only possible for the reasons set out in the Slovenian Employment Relationships Act.

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