Retaliation at Work
Retaliation is a common form of workplace discrimination. Federal law and many state laws prohibit employers from punishing an employee who complains about or reports harassment or discrimination. To complain about or report discrimination to your employer (i.e., your boss, supervisor, manager, human resources, or other decision makers) is considered protected activity. Examples of protected activity include: reporting discrimination or harassment that you personally experienced; reporting discrimination that you witnessed against someone else at work; being a witness or participating in a discrimination investigation; refusing orders to engage in discrimination; and/or resisting discrimination or advocating for a victim. It is also considered protected activity to stand on certain legal rights, such as requesting accommodations for a disability, religious observation or practice, pregnancy, or using FMLA leave.
It is illegal for an employer to subject an employee who has engaged in protected activity to a materially adverse employment action. A materially adverse action is any conduct that would dissuade a reasonable person from engaging in protected activity. In other words, retaliation is not limited to just ultimate employment decisions, such as being fired. It includes any behavior designed to punish you for or discourage you from reporting unlawful harassment or discrimination, such as additional or more intense harassment or discrimination, transfers, shift changes, discipline, negative evaluations, and of course, any decisions that directly impact your employment status, such as being demoted, suspended, or fired.
If you suspect you are dealing with retaliation at work, please CALL US right away to speak with a qualified employment discrimination attorney.