Many employees fear the consequences of speaking out against mistreatment, so they choose to remain silent. Whether they fear a reduction in hours or outright termination, these consequences can be called revenge or retaliation. Fortunately, employees are protected against such actions.
Various rules, regulations and laws over the last few decades have given employees the right to seek fair treatment in the workplace. Workers should not have to feel intimidated by an environment steeped in bullying, discrimination or sexual harassment. Additionally, workers are legally protected from retaliation if they speak up against mistreatment and hold owners, managers or supervisors accountable for their actions.
Workplace retaliation can be considered a punishment by employers levied against employees who report discrimination or other examples of mistreatment. Retaliation runs a wide gamut, but can include actions such as:
- Reduction in hours
- Changed job responsibilities
- Changed job shift
- Denied a promotion
- Negative comments on performance review
- Denied a transfer
While these might be concrete examples of actions that can be taken against an employee, there are more subtle forms of punishment. For example, a worker being transferred to a largely undesirable shift or task can be demoralizing.
A worker who is the victim of discrimination or harassment at the workplace has every right to report it to the proper governing body. Whether this is the company’s internal human resources department or an attorney, the employee should not have to worry about retaliation in any form. If you or a loved one is experiencing retaliation or a hostile work environment, do not hesitate to discuss your situation with a skilled legal professional.