5 Subtle Signs You Are Being Mistreated at Work By Dan Atkerson on January 30, 2024

woman stressed at work

The law protects employees who speak out about workplace violations, but many employers will unfortunately retaliate regardless. Workplace retaliation takes many forms, and most of them are not so obvious as to be immediately recognizable. Subtle retaliation is a common ploy to distance victims from the greater work environment and encourage them to resign without direct (and illegal) action on the part of the company.

If you believe you’ve been subjected to subtle forms of workplace retaliation after speaking out about unsafe, illegal, or discriminatory work conditions, you need a lawyer to help you prove it. My law firm in Allen, TX, serving Frisco, McKinney, Allen, and the greater Dallas–Fort Worth area, has been handling retaliation cases for decades. We’re prepared to fight for your rights.

Read on to learn about subtle forms of workplace retaliation and what you should do once you recognize them.

What Are Some Signs of Workplace Retaliation?

Frequent Switch-Ups in Work Processes

Workplace retaliation is rarely as straightforward as outright job termination. Victims may find themselves switched to different work teams or seating assignments within the office for no justifiable reason. They may also see a significant change in their work hours or regular duties to make exemplary performance difficult.

These may be attempts to eliminate stability from your work environment and encourage you to move on from the company.

Unreasonably Poor Performance Reviews

Properly conducted performance reviews are based on real metrics, proven examples, and actionable feedback. If your supervisor is providing a negative review based on vague notions of performance without clear suggestions for improvement, it can be a subtle sign of retaliation.

These may be attempts to undermine your confidence in your professional abilities and create a paper trail to prove bad performance as a means of “legitimate” termination.

Sudden Lack of Growth Opportunities

Most businesses provide space for employees to grow their careers, whether through training programs, seminars, mentorship programs, or other means. If your workplace offers opportunities like these and you find that they are suddenly no longer available to you but remain available to your coworkers, it can be a sign of retaliation.

This is a common way for an employer to subtly signal a lack of faith in an employee and urge them to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Silent Treatment

This is one of the most common forms of workplace retaliation and one of the easiest to notice for in-person employees. You may pick up on the fact that you are getting looped in on updates relevant to your duties much less frequently, or not at all. A supervisor may delegate duties regularly handled by you to another employee with no explanation.

In ways not directly related to the performance of your duties, this form of retaliation can include getting the “cold shoulder” from formerly friendly supervisors or coworkers, no longer being invited to lunch or after-work events, or being ignored or brushed off in common spaces, which can all contribute to a hostile work environment.


On the converse of the cold shoulder, you may find yourself increasingly under scrutiny from your supervisor to the point of micromanagement. Many employees who are subjected to this form of retaliation find themselves scheduled for unnecessary check-in meetings or asked to provide far-too-frequent updates that actually inhibit workflow.

This may be the company’s attempt to catch you in slip-ups that can culminate in an attempt to label you as a worker who does not meet expectations.

supervisor criticizing employee's work
Unreasonably poor feedback on your work can be a key sign in proving you were a victim of workplace retaliation.

According to a 2023 article published by CNBC, an astounding 91% of workers report having faced workplace discrimination–a common form of retaliation. Only 45% of workers reported being aware of their workplace’s discrimination policies. 

Some of these signs are familiar. What should I do now?

If you start picking up on subtle signs of workplace retaliation, the very first thing you should do is call a lawyer. If you’re in the greater Dallas area, including Frisco, Allen, and McKinney, I am ready to help you.

I offer employment law services on contingency, which means my clients don’t pay me a thing unless I achieve a successful outcome on their behalf. My team and I are determined to help victims achieve justice in matters of retaliation and discrimination.


Hear How We've Been Serving Workers for Decades

What a Lawyer Can Do to Help You Build Your Case

Document Everything

Any employment attorney will recommend you carefully document every instance of workplace retaliation you experience, including the date, time, context, the parties involved, and any witnesses. This evidence will be crucial in proving your claims. I can help you with proper documentation to create the most convincing case possible.

Calculate Damages

If you were denied pay, were unjustly fired, or had your salary decreased, I can help you precisely calculate your financial losses using pay stubs and tax documents from before and after the retaliation occurred. These calculations will be used to compute the compensation you are owed.

Collect Compensation

I can leverage 40 years of experience in employment law to ensure your voice is heard by the parties that need to hear it. I am deeply familiar with the tactics employers will use to refute allegations of retaliation, and I know how to help you structure your claim in a way that lets the truth shine through. My goal is to help you achieve maximum compensation for the unjust actions you suffered.

Our Dallas law firm has a record of success with workplace retaliation cases. We were able to recover $86,000 for an employee terminated after raising safety complaints and $150,000 for an employee terminated after objecting to illegal workplace activity.


We Fight for Workers Like You

Book Your Consultation Today

You may feel incredibly frustrated and isolated as a victim of workplace discrimination but know that you have allies ready to stand by your side at my law office. Our legal team will stop at nothing to prove the injustices you have been subjected to, hold the responsible parties accountable, and secure the restitution you need to move forward.

Getting started is as simple as sending me an online message or calling my law office in Allen, TX. I look forward to hearing from you.



Attorney Dan A. Atkerson

Dan A. Atkerson
Dan A. Atkerson has worked as a civil employment law attorney in DFW since 1984. He has extensive knowledge of state and federal labor statutes and is a member of both the State Bar of Texas and the Dallas Bar Association.

Read Dan Atkerson's Full Bio | All Posts by Dan Atkerson

Related to This

Dan Atkerson

Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Dan A. Atkerson has been protecting the rights of North Texas employees for over nearly four decades. He is affiliated with several prestigious legal organizations, including: 

  • The State Bar of Texas
  • The Dallas Bar Association
  • The United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit
  • Texas Supreme Court and all Texas trial and appellate courts
  • Texas federal courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas

Through aggressive, knowledgeable representation, he has helped clients all over the state reach significant verdicts and settlements. To schedule a consultation at our law firm, request an appointment online or call us at (214) 383-3606.

Get In Touch

Rate, Review & Explore

Social Accounts Sprite