As an employee, you have certain rights — and that includes the right to protest unfair working conditions, file a workers’ compensation claim when injured, make formal complaints about harassment and do certain other things that may not exactly make your employer happy.
Some employers may choose to act on their feelings in ways that amount to illegal retaliation. For instance, if you lose your job because you filed a harassment claim, your termination could be considered a retaliatory act, and you ought to take action against your employer.
What constitutes retaliation?
Retaliation is any adverse action taken by your employer for engaging in protected activities such as whistleblowing, reporting or assisting investigations into harassment claims at the workplace or filing for workers’ compensation benefits.
Retaliation may include:
- A demotion that isn’t tied to work reasons
- Reduction in wages or other employment benefits
- Being transferred to a less desirable position
- Denial of a promotion
- Unfavorable changes in aspects of your job like the work hours or location
Retaliation is illegal under the law, and when it happens, you need to act fast.
What can you do about it?
Reporting the retaliation to your employer should be your first step. Inform the human resource department or your supervisor about it and request that it stops. If you have tried resolving issues with your employer successfully, it may be time to take a step further.
Filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) should be the next step. The EEOC will investigate your claim and may offer to resolve the matter through meditation or settlement. You also have the option of going to court once the EEOC issues you with a notice to sue.
To safeguard your rights as a victim of employer retaliation, you need to know the steps to take when holding your employer accountable. Do not suffer in silence out of fear of losing your job.