what to do when your employer is breaking the law

featured-on-usnThis is a post I should have written a long time ago.

I get a lot of letters from people about something their workplace is doing that’s likely illegal. They’re often wondering what their next move should be: Do they have to go straight to a lawyer and file a lawsuit, or report the employer to a government agency?

While that’s certainly your prerogative if your employer really is violating the law, it’s not always the best move to get you the outcome you want — assuming that your goal is to get the situation resolved and stay on good terms with your employer. Taking legal action tends not to accomplish that second objective. People tend not to be comfortable around other people who have sued them or threatened to sue … and while you may think you don’t care about your manager’s comfort level, it matters very much when it comes to how comfortable your own future is with that company.

So over at U.S. News & World Report today, I talk about a better first step when you want to bring a legal issue to your company’s attention: straightforward conversation. It doesn’t always work, but it’s where you should usually start. You can read how to do it here.

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