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The basics of workplace retaliation

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2016 | Workplace Discrimination

Has your employer responded with retaliation after you reported questionable employment practices? Workplace retaliation is sadly common, but it is illegal. How do you determine if you have substantial grounds for a claim? Knowing the details about workplace retaliation and the laws regarding it can help you understand your situation. Learn about what retaliation can look like and what you can do about it.

Examples of workplace retaliation

Workplace retaliation takes many forms. Some people are quick to assume that the only form of retaliation is termination. While this is certainly an example, many supervisors and employers take more subtle actions. You may find yourself being demoted or experiencing a decrease in benefits. Maybe your workplace has become more hostile. All of these are considered adverse employment actions that can be responses to whistleblowing.

Monetary losses

One of the telltale signs that you are being retaliated against is if actions being taken by your supervisors are costing you money. Of course termination will cause you lost income, but there are plenty of other circumstances that can result in costs. Demotions, denied promotions, withheld benefits and location transfers are all examples of actions that can negatively affect you monetarily.

A changed work environment

Oftentimes retaliation is recognized by a clear change in work environment after whistleblowing. Hostile remarks and applied pressure can be subtle adverse actions. Threats, rumors and increased surveillance may also be pursued. These actions are often taken by employers in hopes that you will leave on your own due to an unpleasant work environment. Action taken that affects your ability to perform or remain at your job can be considered retaliation.

Proving retaliation

To prove that your employer retaliated against you, you must first prove that you took part in one or more protected activities. Next, you must show that you were disciplined or fired by your employer directly because of the protected activity. It is important to keep track of details throughout the entire process. Take note of actions you took, how your employer treats you and any important details such as electronic communications with a supervisor.

Reporting suspicious or wrong employment activity can be a difficult decision to make, especially if you fear retaliation. If you think your employer has retaliated against you because you blew the whistle on a questionable practice, you may want to seek legal counsel to see if it is feasible to file a lawsuit. Employment law attorneys can help you receive compensation for retaliation.