When a workplace is discriminating against an employee it can be somewhat obvious. However, there is another form of harassment that is a little less obvious. If you are a whistleblower at your job or you have been resisting some unethical business behaviors, for example, you may be retaliated against.
This type of retaliation is not only uncomfortable for the employee, it is also illegal. You have worker’s rights that protect you against discrimination as well as retaliation. In this article, we will go over what you need to know about workplace retaliation.
What retaliation looks like
Retaliation can come in many forms ranging from demotions, schedule changes, and up to being fired. Less obvious forms are changes in job description or even reassigning a workstation.
It all starts when an employee does something completely legal that the employer has an issue with. For instance, if there is something unethical happening and an employee decides to bring it to the attention of higher ups in the company or even legal authorities then this could trigger disciplinary actions that would be illegal in this case.
The reason for this retaliation is for a couple of motivations. First, it punishes the person who made waves. The second is to deter others from deciding to take on their superiors at work.
Whatever the motivation on the part of the employer, it is illegal and you will need to find a labor law attorney to take on your case.
How do you know it’s retaliation?
To the person who finds themselves being punished for something they spoke up about at work, it is fairly obvious when retaliation. However, when it comes to bringing a case before the court, it may not seem so cut and dry.
It could easily be a case when a superior decides to make things uncomfortable for their employee without crossing the line into retaliation. It becomes retaliation when the effects are adverse on your employment.
If your schedule is changed suddenly which makes your employment untenable then this is a clear case. They may be hoping that you quit by changing to a schedule they know you can’t work due to family responsibilities, for instance.
Certain behavior changes may not come under the banner of retaliation. Such as a boss micromanaging you after you’ve registered a complaint simply to make you uncomfortable.
What to do next
As soon as you feel the need to speak up about something, make sure to have everything documented. Write down when a complaint such as harassment was filed and with whom.
After which you will then need to document any changes to your employment. The timing of which is very important. There needs to be a direct correlation to when you reported an issue to what happened afterward.
All of these types of events should also be documented. Make sure to keep all of your performance reports so you can show that there were no issues with your performance leading up to the incident.