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What Is Retaliation in the Workplace?

When something happens in your workplace — such as discrimination based on race or sexual harassment — and you report the activity to your supervisor and/or to authorities, you are protected from retaliative action against you for making the report. This means that your employer cannot treat you any differently or penalize you in any way because you made the report, even if the report was against your employer themselves.

However, many employers fail to adhere to this policy and retaliate against employees who take action when there is discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Here’s what retaliation is and what you can do if you believe you were the victim of retaliation in your workplace.

Retaliation Defined

Retaliation can take many different forms. Most people think it’s simply firing the employee who made the report and while retaliation does include this activity, it’s not limited to it. Retaliation could also be:

  • Demoting the employee
  • Lowering the employee’s pay rate
  • Passing over the employee for normal performance evaluations or annual raises
  • Changing an employee’s hours or shift in a way that negatively impacts them
  • Not including the employee in opportunities for training
  • Verbal or physical harassment after making a report of workplace misconduct

The above is just a few of the most common things that could be considered retaliation — simply put, retaliation can be any negative action taken against you by an employer after you make a report of discrimination, harassment, or other illegal activities within the workplace.

Retaliation is not an employer being more professional towards you or less friendly after you make a report. The only actions that can be considered retaliatory are those that have a negative impact on your employment.

How to Fight Back Against Retaliation

Retaliation can be difficult to prove. For example, if you were fired or demoted, your employer may come up with several reasons as to why you were let go that have nothing to do with the report you made — e.g., poor work performance, tardiness, inability to meet goals and deadlines, etc.

With the help of an experienced employment law attorney, you can obtain as much evidence as possible to show that you were indeed the victim of retaliation. Getting your hands on these types of documents may be difficult alone, but it becomes much easier when you work with a zealous lawyer who is committed to getting the justice you deserve.

Contact Albrecht Law, PLLC today for more information.

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