It takes a lot of courage to stand up to workplace misconduct and exercise your rights as an employee. After filing a complaint or participating in an investigation of a complaint, you hope the unfair treatment will stop. However, the misconduct might get worse after a complaint if it leads to employer retaliation.
Employees have federal rights that protect them from workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation. That is why it is important to understand the forms retaliation can take, so you can protect your rights in the workplace.
What does retaliation look like?
When people think about employer retaliation, they often picture:
- Unreasonable disciplinary measures
- Open and harsh harassment or threats
- A hostile work environment
- Reassignment or demotion
- Wrongful termination from their position
Sadly, these situations are quite common. In fact, retaliation claims are quickly becoming one of the most common employment claims in the United States.
However, most employers know they could face serious consequences for any of these clear acts of retaliation. That is why retaliation is not always so apparent.
Sometimes it is hard to tell if it is retaliation or not
Employers often engage in subtle acts of retaliation to avoid legal issues, including:
- Making your work or position more difficult
- Passing over you for promotions
- Garnishing your wages
- Excluding you from office functions or meetings
- Giving you poor performance reviews
These subtle acts are much easier for an employer to deny if you file a complaint against them.
You have the right to a safe workplace
Any act of retaliation can have serious impacts on your career, as well as your personal life. You should not have to put up with that. Understanding your rights as an employee and knowing the signs of retaliation can help you protect yourself and your career.