In today’s workforce, most people don’t know what their rights are as an employee. From mandatory break periods to sexual harassment laws, it’s important to educate yourself on what guidelines are put in place to protect you. Unfortunately, sometimes negative work experiences happen that fall outside the more well-known situations. One of these negative experiences is called workplace retaliation.
What is Workplace Retaliation?
This type of punishment doesn’t just mean a demotion or firing. Workplace retaliation can also include other negative employment actions on an employee who engaged in a legally protected activity, such as asking for a raise or reporting inappropriate behavior. These negative employment actions can include a salary reduction, shift reassignment, demotion, discipline and firing.
Here are 5 signs that you may be experiencing workplace retaliation:
- Termination after reporting another employee (harassment)
- Changing your job duties so you have to do more difficult/not realistic tasks
- Transfer of your job duties to other employees
- Changing your schedule that makes it hard for you to meet the demands of your job
- Your supervisor is continuously hostile or negative towards you
How Am I Legally Protected from Workplace Retaliation?
Fortunately, there are both state and federal laws that can protect employees from workplace retaliation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws that make it “…illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee.” The EEOC has the authority to investigate these types of claims and fairly and accurately assess the allegations. In 2018 alone, over 51 percent of the claims filed involved workplace retaliation. If you feel like you’ve been the victim of workplace retaliation, it’s important to use the resources available to you. Contact the EEOC or a workplace retaliation attorney to fight for your rights.
What Evidence Do I Need for a Workplace Retaliation Claim?
If you suspect you’re experiencing retaliation by your employer, you will need to show a connection between your complaint or behavior that triggered this change in your manager’s related actions. Document everything you can and keep track of communication before and after the complaint through emails or chat logs. An example of this could be email messages a week before your complaint that were praising your performance to a chat thread after your complaint citing poor performance.
Navigating the workplace can be tricky but even trickier if you feel as though you have a target on your back. If you are unsure as to what the guidelines are and your rights in your workplace, speak to your HR representative to learn more.