Los Angeles Employment Law 101: How to Have That “Hard Talk” with Your Boss

As an employee who has struggled with workplace issues — a wage and hour problem, perhaps, or maybe discrimination or harassment — you need action to make the problem go away. Here is a guide for how to talk to your boss about what is going on.

#1. Write down your goals, objectives and predictions for the meeting — before you have it.

Most employees “underprepare” for critical meetings, and they feel jilted when they do not get what they want. Make that less likely:  Prepare! Write down what you want your boss to do as well as what your expectations are for the meeting.

#2. Focus on your needs AND your boss’s needs.

Your boss is a person, too. What in the workplace scares your boss, excites your boss, threatens your boss? Make the conversation about both of your needs. You will be much more likely to get what you want.

#3. Listen carefully.

Be an active listener. Pay attention to both the text AND the subtext of what is said.

#4. Document the conversation.

Depending on the protocols of your office, you may want to write down your boss’s answers.  Ask questions if you don’t understand something.

#5. Leave the conversation with a clear Next Action, including who “owns” that action.

Perhaps your next action might be to file a complaint with  HR. Or maybe the next action belongs to your boss, who needs to go to corporate to convey your disappointment with the payment policy, for example.

After the meeting

Collect your thoughts, and review what happened. Were your needs met?

Reflect on what you initially wrote. Did the meeting turn out like you thought it would? What was different, and why? Write down your answers.

If you have an employment law issue, connect with an experienced employment attorney, Nancy Gray, to schedule a free consultation.


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