The workplace isn’t always an ethical place, but it should be. When you’re doing a job, you should get the credit for all of the positive things that happen as a result. Your work ethic and experience matter.
Unfortunately, it is common for people to take credit for others’ hard work. For example, your supervisor may take credit for your idea and get a bonus as a result. A coworker might take credit instead of explaining that you helped on an assignment in the hopes of getting a promotion.
It is frustrating when you see that someone else is taking credit for your effort, but did you know that it could also be illegal in some cases?
When is it illegal to take credit for another person’s work?
If credit is being taken for your work as a form of discrimination or harassment, this will automatically fall into the range of illegal acts that can happen in a workplace. For instance, if your supervisor consistently speaks negatively about women and then takes credit for your work, that sexism may be enough for you to make a complaint.
Oftentimes, it is sexism that plays a role in taking others’ work. For instance, a woman may have been working on an architecture project for many hours. She may have asked a male colleague to help with that project. Then, when the employer comes to look at the work, he might look right past the woman and thank the man for his effort. This kind of behavior, especially when it’s regular, is unethical and may also be illegal.
As someone who may have had your best efforts overlooked or ignored, you can make a complaint if others are taking credit for what you’ve done. If the same people continue to act sexist, discriminatory or rude to you, then you should keep records of that workplace harassment. Dishonesty is unethical, but mistreating someone because of their gender or appearance is illegal. It is well within your rights to make a complaint and to keep track of everything that has happened so that you can make a claim if necessary.