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What does retaliation at work look like?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2023 | Employment Litigation

Every workplace has its share of challenges. If you encounter an employment-related problem, the law empowers you to speak out. And if you seek legal redress over the matter, your employer cannot retaliate against you. 

Unfortunately, workplace retaliation is not uncommon. If you are retaliated against at work, you deserve justice. But how exactly does retaliation happen at work?

Understanding retaliation at work

Basically, workplace retaliation happens when an employer takes adverse action against you for exercising your protected employment rights. In other words, an employer cannot retaliate against you for reporting fraud, filing a workplace discrimination complaint, cooperating with law authorities during an investigation or reporting an unlawful employment practice like workplace discrimination. 

For an employer’s action to qualify as retaliatory, the following elements must be satisfied:

  • You participated in a protected activity that your employer was aware of (like participating in a lawful strike. 
  • Your employer took adverse specific adverse actions against you following your participation in the activity in question
  • Your employer’s adverse actions resulted in specific losses

Here are examples of employer actions that may be considered retaliatory:

Transfer, demotion or reassignment to a different unit or shift – Your employer reserves the right to assign you roles and shifts as they deem suitable and necessary for the business. However, if these actions are intended to punish or frustrate you, then you need to find out their motive.

Threats and intimidation – this is straightforward. Sometimes, your employer or someone in authority might confront you and make it clear that you will “pay the price” for your action. They may even go ahead and demand that you drop your complaint or face specific or unspecified consequences. These are clear signs of workplace retaliation.

Every employee deserves a safe and retaliation-free workplace. Learning more about state and federal labor laws can help you pursue justice if you are being retaliated against at work.