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‘Classic HR trap’: Labor lawyer says this is how HR can destroy complaints in viral TikTok

‘Some HR reps will wanna kill the paper trail before it starts.’


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

TikToker and labor lawyer Ryan Stygar (@attorneyryan) carved out a specific niche for himself on the app: Offering simple, bite-sized advice about common legal problems in the workplace. This month a particular piece of advice went viral, helping people navigate making harassment complaints with their workplaces’ human resource (HR) departments.

Stygar labeled the TikTok as a tip for how to avoid a “classic HR trap” when filing a harassment complaint. “Some HR reps will wanna kill the paper trail before it starts,” he says. “So they will insist on a phone call or face-to-face conversation about the harassment.”

In order to create a paper trail for one’s complaint, Stygar’s TikTok recommends sending an email after the HR meeting takes place, recapping everything discussed. He even includes a template in the TikTok. This email could then be used as evidence in a potential court case, detailing when HR first heard of the complaint and what that complaint entailed.

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This advice struck a chord with Stygar’s viewers, partly because a lot of people just don’t trust HR departments to have their best interests at heart. “When will people understand, HR is not there to protect you, it’s there to protect the company,” one commenter wrote.

Others recommended recording audio of HR meetings, but this is only applicable in states with one-party consent laws–ie, where you can legally record someone else without their permission. Replying to one of those commenters, Stygar offered a more pragmatic reason for why recording a meeting might not be as useful as one would think. “Most audio recordings clients try to give me are useless,” he said.

Basically, his argument is that an old-school paper trail is the best way to go. “Money and power means very little in employment cases. EVIDENCE is the deciding factor!”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Ryan Stygar for comment.

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