Many people likely know that there are laws in place to protect employees from offenses such as workplace discrimination or sexual harassment, but as an employee you are also protected from workplace retaliation.
What Is Workplace Retaliation?Workplace retaliation involves any action taken by an employer to punish an employee for engaging in an activity that is legally protected, such as filing a complaint for sexual harassment or discrimination.
Retaliatory actions can include wrongful termination, demotion, relocation, hours changes, pay decrease, etc. The actions taken against you may not even have to be generally considered ‘negative’ to be considered retaliation.
For example, if a supervisor moves you from one shift to another in response to a complaint of sexual harassment from a coworker, it may not seem like much of an inconvenience to many workers, but it could be a serious problem if you are a parent with a rigid schedule.
How Do I Know When an Employer is Committing Workplace Retaliation?It can be hard at times to know when an employer is committing workplace retaliation. Just because an employer’s actions and attitude toward you may change after you make a complaint against them or another employee doesn’t necessarily mean they are retaliating against you.
In order to be considered workplace retaliation, the action taken against you has to have an adverse effect on your life or career. Even seemingly small changes or actions, like a poor performance review, could be construed as retaliation, especially if they happen shortly after you’ve made a complaint.
What Can I Do About Workplace Retaliation?If you suspect that a supervisor is committing retaliation, the first thing you should do is talk with the supervisor. Tell them that you feel that they have been taking actions to punish you for making a complaint previously. Usually, talking to the supervisor will remedy the problem.
If not, talk with an employment lawyer about filing a workplace retaliation lawsuit. Start keeping track of any written evidence that proves negative action has been taken against you, such as emails or performance reviews.
Dallas employment attorney Dan A. Atkerson has years of experience fighting for employees who have been victims of workplace retaliation and making sure they’re treated fairly.