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What does workplace retaliation look like?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Workplace Discrimination |

If you start to feel targeted at work after filing a complaint, that could be a case of workplace retaliation. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, retaliation is one of the most prevalent forms of workplace discrimination in the United States.

Retaliation can have profound effects on a worker, causing them increased stress, anxiety and even depression. It also creates a culture of fear in the workplace that discourages others from speaking up. It is imperative for employees to understand what retaliation looks like and know how they can protect themselves under the law. Retaliation can happen after a worker protests unsafe or illegal conduct in the workplace, or supports others who have discrimination or harassment claims. Here are some examples of retaliation:

  • Getting a sudden poor performance review: If you have consistently received good evaluations but started getting negative feedback after raising a concern, this could be a form of retaliation. Employers or supervisors often use this tactic to undermine an employee’s credibility and professional standing.
  • Exclusion from meetings or decisions: One of the subtler forms of retaliation is exclusion from important work matters. This is to deter employees from performing their duties effectively, and to prevent their ability to obtain promotions.
  • Changes in job duties or hours: One of the red flags to look out for is sudden changes in your schedule or duties without any apparent reason.

What should you do?

If you suspect you are experiencing retaliation at work, taking certain steps to protect yourself legally is crucial. Start by documenting everything related to the issue. Keep detailed records of all interactions, changes in your assigned tasks, performance reviews and communications that might support your claim. If possible, report the retaliation internally or consult a lawyer specializing in workers’ rights to help you navigate your situation. Remember, in the face of  retaliation, standing up for your rights is crucial as it protects yourself and others from unfair treatment in the workplace.

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