The legal definition of employer retaliation, or workplace retaliation, is the act of an employer punishing an employee for engaging in a protected act. Protected acts can include taking accrued PTO, sick or maternity leave, reporting harassment or assault, reporting other illegal activity, refusing to engage in unlawful activity, and more. In other words, it is a way for an employer, or any other higher-up, to seek revenge on an employee. Here are five common examples of employer retaliation to help you recognize if you are or have been a victim.
Employees that have worked at a company for many years and have done their job exceedingly well should be eligible for some form of raise or employee movement. While it may be due to a valid reason, it is not appropriate if the employee has engaged in a protected act that was not to the employer’s benefit and is later denied a promotion or salary increase. Not only does this harm the employee, but it can also send a message to other employees, deterring them from speaking up or engaging in protected acts to protect their careers.
Evaluations are a part of the workplace experience, and sometimes you can receive feedback that feels harsh. However, overly cruel or severe evaluations that are clearly undeserved are cause for alarm. This is especially so if your review doesn’t come with any compliments or praise.
Alterations in work conditions can take a few different forms. For example, your employer consistently gives you undesirable clients or jobs that are difficult to compete. You may also randomly receive a relocation or change in schedule. If agreeing to do so is not in the contract, or you tell your employer that you cannot work under the conditions provided and they refuse to change it or tell you why, it should be cause for concern.
A sudden or unnecessary reduction in pay or benefits is a huge red flag, especially if you’ve recently engaged in a protected act that your employer may not have agreed with. This can also include a reduction in opportunities for overtime, PTO, or commission payments. It’s worth it to ask and have a written explanation as to why your employer reduced your salary or benefits.
Excluding employees from training sessions or essential communications is a tactic some employers may use to set up an employee for failure. This may also appear as isolation, such as exclusion from meetings or company activities. It can also be as harsh and obvious as an employer refusing to talk to you or engage in correspondence.
Awareness of these common types of employer retaliation can help save you from pain and frustration. If you feel that you’ve been a victim of employee retaliation, it’s within your legal right to contact an employment dispute lawyer to get the representation and compensation you deserve.