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How to Retaliate Against Workplace Retaliation

By Dan Atkerson on September 04, 2015

Director yelling at the assistantMost people know that they have workplace protection against things like discrimination and sexual harassment, but some people may not be fully aware that they are also protected against workplace retaliation. Many people are “punished” at work for a variety of reasons but just accept it as “part of the job” when they don’t have to.

What Is Workplace Retaliation?

Workplace retaliation involves any kind of “punishment” from an employer for any legally protected activity. Usually, these cases involve employers who take out frustration on an employee who cooperated with a sexual harassment investigation or acted as a whistleblower. Retaliation could be any form of punishment by a supervisor for any legally protected actions you may be engaged in. Furthermore, some people mistakenly believe that being fired is the only form of retaliation. Being forced to take undesirable jobs, pay decrease, demotion, poor performance evaluations, or any other negative job action can be retaliation.

How Do You Fight Back?

If you feel you are being retaliated against at work for some kind of legally protected activity, the first step is to talk to someone in human resources about why these negative things are happening. If the employer cannot come up with a legitimate reason for the negative action, then you should ask that the negative action stop as you feel it is retaliation. If the employer does not seem that they are willing to admit and correct the issue, then file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and consult an employment attorney. Keep a record of the negative actions against you and have a timeline to show the retaliation came after your activity that the employer is retaliating against.

Being punished for conducting legally protected activities is definitely not “part of the job,” and nobody should ever have to put up with it. Start documenting anything you feel is retaliatory and talk to a lawyer so that you can make the retaliation stop.

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