Federal and state laws protect employees engaging in certain behaviors on the job. You have the right to a harassment-free workplace, to assert your basic rights and to ask your employer to intervene if a coworker or even a client mistreats you.
You might make an internal report about harassment or a hostile work environment, or you could even report what you believe is illegal activity to someone within the company or a government regulatory agency. Those who address misconduct in the workplace should not have to worry about career consequences for doing the right thing.
Federal law prohibits retaliation against employees, such as the three employer actions below.
Transferring a worker who complains
If other members of your department have mistreated you, they are the ones who should face job consequences, like a transfer to a different department or a different shift. The company should not change the job title or schedule of someone who speaks up about harassment or misconduct to separate them from the other party involved.
Changing employment standards
Sometimes, companies shift their perspective about a worker or their job performance following a complaint or outside report. Other times, the company might start disciplining someone more frequently after they speak up about workplace misconduct. Negative opinions about your performance and an increase in disciplinary actions against you could be a sign of retaliation.
Terminating the worker
Some companies will start fabricating a paper trail after a complaint by a worker so that they can justify terminating that employee later. Some workers will face wrongful termination after engaging in protected employment activities.
Workers who lose their jobs, get demoted or worry that either of these issues may soon arise may have experienced workplace retaliation. Fighting back against workplace retaliation could help you get your job back or at least receive financial compensation for your employer’s misconduct.