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3 things to know about retaliation in the workplace

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2023 | Employment Law For Employers |

Employers have a duty to employees to provide a workplace that’s free of hostility. One critical point for all employers to set in place is a policy to combat retaliation. In order to provide employees with a safe and suitable workplace, employers must ensure all workers are able to speak up when things are amiss.

Retaliation, which encompasses any adverse employment action taken in response to a protected action, shouldn’t ever be allowed. It’s crucial for employers to understand what constitutes retaliation so they can prevent it.

1: Protections apply to specific situations

Certain events, such as instances of safety violations, harassment and discrimination, are deplorable. Employees should be able to let their supervisors know when any of those occur. They should even be able to speak freely to governing authorities. Retaliation against those employees for the purpose of punishing them for speaking up is always illegal.

2: Subtle forms may occur

Retaliation doesn’t always have to be obvious. While you may automatically think of actions, such as demotions or termination, more subtle retaliation is possible. These can be things like sending the employee to a less desirable location or shift. It can also involve writing a negative performance review.

3: Discipline is still possible

It’s important to note that disciplining employees who participate in protected actions isn’t immune from normal disciplinary procedures. The key here is that the discipline must be the exact same as it would be for any other employee for the exact same reason.

One of the best ways to combat retaliation is to have all the company rules and disciplinary measures clearly outlined in the employee handbook. Any business owner who has an employee claiming retaliation should learn about the options they have to address the situation.