Employees who file complaints for things like harassment or discrimination often worry that they will face negative impacts at work because they spoke out against their employer. While this is a valid complaint, it’s imperative that employers and employees understand that retaliation is illegal when it’s done as a result of a protected action, such as filing a valid and factual complaint about workplace matters.
Employers must have clear rules that strictly forbid negative employment actions that stem from a protected activity. Instead, these negative employment actions should only occur if the employee has done something to warrant them. For example, a person who isn’t meeting their job duty requirements could be disciplined for doing a lax job but only if the discipline is because of their job performance.
Clearly defining retaliation is another important point. Any negative employment action, including termination, demotion, unfavorable performance reviews and moving to a less desirable shift or location, must be forbidden if it is only because the employee spoke up or cooperated with an investigation.
Employees must remember that participating in a protected activity doesn’t give them the right to behave in any manner they choose. They still have to do their job duties and follow the established company policies, or they can face disciplinary measures.
Cases involving retaliation are often challenging to handle. Working with an attorney who’s familiar with these matters can help. It’s important to start working on your case quickly when there’s suspected retaliation, so you have time to look into what happened and get your case together as expeditiously as possible.