One reason that employees sometimes fail to report things like safety violations and sexual harassment is that they worry about retaliation. If they make that report, is it going to negatively impact their career? Employees often feel like they have to choose between taking a stand and keeping a steady paycheck for their families. That allows a lot of issues to get swept under the rug as they pick their families and their careers.
That being said, retaliation is illegal. If you file a complaint, your company cannot take action against you. Employees still worry about it, and it does still happen, but those who experience it need to know that they have legal options.
Wondering exactly what that retaliation may include? Here are a few examples:
- Giving you a negative performance review or evaluation, even though your actual performance has not declined
- Firing you from your job and terminating your employment because of that report you filed
- Demoting you to a lower position that has worse hours and lower pay
- Disciplining you within the workplace in some way that is detrimental to your employment, even if you keep your job
- Reducing your pay, even without a demotion or change in title
- Reassigning you to a new position, especially if it is one that is seen as less favorable and that is a step down in your career
Essentially, the negative consequences of filing your report, those very things you worry about, are likely illegal. You must know your rights as an employee and what steps to take if your employer acts against you in any way.