3 things you need to know about workplace retaliation

It doesn't matter if you enjoy your job or have run into issues in the past, you never know if you could face an instance of workplace retaliation. If this happens, it's imperative to understand your legal rights and the steps you can take to protect yourself.

There are many forms of workplace retaliation. This occurs when an employer takes adverse action against you because of something you did, such as filing a complaint of discrimination or sexual harassment.

Common types of adverse action include:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Giving a negative evaluation
  • Disciplinary action for no reason
  • Pay reduction
  • Reassignment to a lesser job

There are times when an employer, such as a manager, knows exactly what they're doing in regard to retaliation. An employee has made them mad, so they take action to make their life miserable.

Conversely, unintentional retaliation is also possible. For example, a human resources professional may assume it's a good idea to remove a person from their current position while a harassment claim is reviewed. However, in doing so, it's possible that an act of retaliation comes into play.

If you've been the victim of workplace retaliation, it's important to take notes in regard to what went wrong. This includes collecting any evidence that will strengthen your case.

Once you discuss the situation with your employer, you may find that they're willing to make things right. However, if they fight back and tell you they did nothing wrong, it may be time to proceed with a formal complaint with a state and/or federal agency. Sometimes, you have to do this to protect your legal rights as an employee.

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