workplace retaliationMost people know that there are different laws that write down provisions against discrimination and harassment in the workplace. What many don’t know, however, is that there are also different laws that protect employees against retaliation. But to ensure that no employer violates your rights, it’s important to know about the whole concept of retaliation.

What is Workplace Retaliation?

Workplace retaliation happens when you experience an adverse reaction from the employer after you either file a complaint or support another complaint. In the eyes of the law, this is an illegal consequence of your practice or support of a legally protected act.

An instance of retaliation can be quite tricky to detect. This is because the act can come in different forms – both subtle and drastic. Poor performance reviews, exclusion from meetings, reassigning you to a different position or location, and similar actions are likely forms of retaliation. In severe cases, employers may threaten your job by demoting or firing you.

What Can Employees Do?

Fortunately, you can protect yourself against this. Your first option is to talk to your employer directly. Tell your HR representative or supervisor about the negative acts you have experienced. If there is no legitimate or reasonable explanation for the actions, ask them to stop the negative acts as you feel you’re being retaliated against.

If nothing happens after that, you can take your concern to your state’s fair employment agency or to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

When push comes to shove, the attorneys at explain that it is possible to escalate the case to a court. It is necessary, however, to show a strong link between what you claim as retaliatory behavior and the likely trigger that caused the said action. You will have to gather enough evidence to prove that your employer is getting back at you through these actions. Work closely with a lawyer to be sure of your steps.

The law recognizes your right to complain about discrimination or harassment and your right to support such complaints. Employers who do not acknowledge this may face severe sanctions, especially if they retaliate against you.