If an employee wishes to file a complaint against their employer because they believe they have acted unlawfully or unethically, they are protected by law against employer retaliation. Unfortunately, in some cases, an employer who finds out that a complaint has been made against them targets the individual who filed it and may use certain methods or display particular behaviors to intimidate the employee, make them feel uncomfortable, or attempt to get them to back down.
An employer may retaliate in many ways, and it is vital that employees know their rights so they can protect themselves against this type of discrimination. Here are four examples of employer retaliation:
If an employer suddenly changes the role of your job, takes you off your usual workload, or resigns you to different duties after a whistleblowing incident, they may be retaliating. In some instances, the employer will give the employee new responsibilities, which are demeaning, confusing, or far below their capabilities. They will try to make their job as difficult as possible, giving them only limited information and resources to make it impossible to complete assigned tasks.
- Blocking advancement or termination
Another example of employer retaliation is preventing the employee from advancing up through the business. This could mean denying them a promotion that is rightfully theirs or merely blocking them from natural career progression that other employees can take advantage of. Similarly, preventing the employee from receiving a raise is another form of blocking advancement. The employer may try to do this by giving an unwarranted negative performance review or a bad reference. An employer may also choose to unfairly dismiss an employer if they have made a complaint against them or try to make the work environment so inhospitable that they feel forced to resign.
- Hostility or intimidation
An employer could also become hostile and display threatening or intimidating behavior towards the employee. This could take many forms such as sexual harassment, starting rumors, gossiping, defamation of character, or any type of harassment. If the employer deliberately creates a problematic or intolerable work environment because of the action taken against the business, this could be an example of employer retaliation.
An employer may relocate the employee to an isolated workspace, refuse to invite them to meetings or social events, and encourage other employees to behave likewise. Exclusion from training sessions that could result in the employee being at a disadvantage is another example of using exclusion as a form of retaliation.
What should an employee do if they suspect they are the victim of workplace retaliation?
If an employee believes they are the victim of workplace retaliation, they can choose to address this through their HR department. If this is not possible or they do not feel comfortable doing so, an experienced employment attorney can help establish and prove retaliation. Making notes of incidents and gathering any relevant evidence such as abusive emails as well as obtaining a copy of your job contract can help an attorney fight your case.
If you have any questions or would like to inquire how an attorney can help protect your rights against employer retaliation give the professional, compassionate lawyers at DeWitt Law a call at 614.398.2886, and arrange a free, confidential consultation today.