People have a tendency to put unpleasantness behind them and move on, so to speak. Quite often this is the reaction when a worker is issued a warning, reprimand, or short suspension for an alleged workplace infraction.
“If a worker doesn’t think a disciplinary penalty is fair they should challenge it – even if it is a relatively light punishment,” says GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner. “At the very least union members should work with their GSU representative to make sure that their response to the accusation and penalty is on the record.”
“What seemed like a small thing a month ago or a year ago can come back to haunt if a more serious issue arises at a later date,” Wagner added. “Quite often a person’s whole record is taken into account when an employer considers the severity of a penalty, and that small thing from before is added to the pile.”
Wagner advises that the first thing to do when being handed a workplace disciplinary penalty by your employer is to ask to have the assistance of a union representative. Even if the worker considers the punishment to be deserved and fair they should still seek the assistance of their union representative. These services are provided to all members as part of union dues and there is no additional charge for assistance.
“Don’t let small things add up and become big things down the road,” Wagner says.
Do you have a question about an issue in your workplace?
Contacting GSU does not mean you are obligated to file a grievance. We are here to assist you in any way we can, but we won’t contact your employer or act on your behalf without consultation, direction, and approval from you.
Contact us with your questions or when you think there is a problem to be fixed. It’s easier to solve problems when they are small and sometimes a brief comment, email or meeting is all that is needed to address a situation and work things out.