Damaging Workplace Retaliation and What to Do if It Happens to You

Most people have heard that there are regulations in place to protect employees from harassment and discrimination. Nevertheless, many people are unaware that these rules protect employees from retribution. Employers cannot thus penalize employees for filing harassment or discrimination complaints or participating in workplace investigations.

But punishment is not limited to termination or demotion: it may also entail being denied transfer to a more desirable position or a raise and missing out on training or mentorship chances. If you want to learn about workplace retaliation, read more about it today. 

What is workplace retaliation? 

When an employer penalizes an employee for engaging in legally protected behavior, this is referred to as retaliation. Any unfavorable job action, such as demotion, reprimand, dismissal, wage reduction, or job or shift transfer, might be considered retaliation. But retaliation can sometimes be very subtle. 

When an employee is dismissed, for example, it is evident that the employer’s behavior was bad. But it is not always the case. According to the United States Supreme Court, in such cases, the circumstances of the case must be considered. For example, a change in employment shift may not be bothersome to many employees. Still, it may be extremely detrimental to a parent with small children and a less flexible schedule. It is illegal retaliation if the employer’s adverse behavior dissuades a reasonable person from filing a complaint. 

When is retaliation prohibited? 

Employees are protected from retaliation under federal law when they report workplace discrimination or harassment, either internally or to an outside authority such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). That is true even if the claim is later proven false, as long as it was made in good faith. 

Employees who collaborate in EEOC investigations or act as witnesses in EEOC investigations or lawsuits are similarly protected under the statute. A recent Supreme Court decision establishes an employee’s role as a witness in an internal investigation is protected. Some actions are also protected under federal law, such as “whistleblowers” who report unsafe working conditions or individuals who take legally protected FMLA leave. Furthermore, certain state laws restrict employers from retaliating against employees for different reasons, such as filing a workers’ compensation claim. 

How Can You Tell Whether Your Boss Is Retaliating Against You? 

It can be difficult to detect whether your company is retaliating against you. If you complain about your boss’s abusive behavior, his attitude and manner may alter. Only changes that hurt your employment are considered retaliatory.

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