4 Unfair Labour Practices to Watch Out For

By David Thompson

Apr 29, 2022 04:05 PM EDT

Photo by Ruslan Burlaka(Ruslan Burlaka from Pexels) (Credit: Getty Image)

Entering the workforce can feel like stepping onto a minefield, especially when you're starting to work for the very first time. Sometimes it can feel like all you ever see is angry bosses, gossiping colleagues, weird legal jargon and problem after problem.

Dealing with issues at work is normal and something that everybody will have to face at some point, if not on a constant basis. However, there is a difference between typical day-to-day altercations, and genuinely unfair and illegal business practices.

If you're unsure of what you're dealing with, here are a few examples of red flags to look out for in your workplace. 

Unfair Dismissal

When a contract of employment is in place, this typically means that there needs to be a pretty valid reason for that contract to be broken early and for the employee to be dismissed. 

If you or a co-worker is dismissed under suspicious circumstances, you might want to look into this. The wrongful termination of employment should be legally addressed, as it could be indicative of other issues such as discrimination. 

Dismissal due to race, gender, disability, religious or political views or sexual orientation all constitute unfair dismissal and the employer will be liable to compensate the former employee. 


On the topic of discrimination, it can arise in many situations in the workplace, not only in the termination of a contract. In fact, any form of discrimination in the workplace should be addressed and dealt with immediately.

Discrimination can be seen in promotions, considerations for projects, raises or bonuses, the listening and taking on of ideas and suggestions, and general behaviour. You need to learn how to identify if you're being discriminated against, so that you are positioned to take action against it.

A similar issue is harassment which can be a result of discrimination, or also manifest as sexual harassment. Either of these are red flags that need to be dealt with quickly. 


Being constantly undermined at work is more of a problem than what it might sound like. If your ideas are shot down, you are ignored and spoken down to, you are being disrespected in your workplace, and this could indicate discrimination too. 

Of course, it's important to learn to deal with people who constantly undermine you. However, when this behaviour is consistent, impacts your work performance, and your self-image and even prevents you from new opportunities in your career, it becomes a more serious problem that needs to be addressed. 

Unpaid Overtime or Withheld Remuneration

Knowing your worth is important. A common issue in businesses is taking advantage of employees and underpaying them, not paying them for additional work or even withholding remuneration or bonuses. 

Depending on the nature of the issue, you might need to seek out an employment lawyer to assist you with issues like this. Regardless, any problems that involve an employee not being paid what they deserve calls for a deeper investigation and perhaps a renegotiation. 

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