What is Workplace Retaliation?

When employees experience discrimination and/or harassment, they have the right to report such activity either to their employer or to an outside body (i.e. the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Additionally, they also have legal protections against employer retaliation.

Retaliation happens when an employer punishes or otherwise takes a negative action against an employee for participating in “protected activity,” such as filing an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) charge or complaint, being a witness to an investigation, refusing to follow orders that leads to discrimination, asking employers for salary information, or even resisting sexual advances.

Common forms of employer retaliation include:

  • Termination

  • Demotion

  • Job or shift reassignment

  • Salary reduction

  • Discipline

While retaliation may seem obvious, sometimes it’s difficult to tell. For instance, if you complain about your manager’s discrimination against certain employees, his attitude toward you may change. If he becomes more professional toward you and others, that isn’t considered retaliation because he isn’t as friendly as before.

However, his actions have an adverse effect on your employment, then it is considered retaliatory. For example, if your boss fires you because you’re not a “team player” after complaining to management about his sexual advances toward you, it is retaliation. More subtle acts of retaliation include unfair performance reviews, exclusion from important staff meetings, or even constant micromanaging.

If you believe your employer is retaliating against you, first ask your supervisor or human resources (HR) representative for an explanation of your employer’s actions. If your employer cannot provide a valid explanation, state you suspect you are being retaliated against and request that it immediately stop.

If your employer denies any wrongdoing and/or fails to fix the issue, our legal team at Shellist Lazarz Slobin can review your case, determine your legal options, and help you obtain the results and justice you deserve. We can help you address your concerns with the EEOC or the Texas Workforce Commission.

For more information, contact us and request a case evaluation today.

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