Workplace Retaliation

We all know that there are laws in place to protect employees from harassment and discrimination. But did you know that these laws also protect employees from retaliation? In short, employers cannot penalize employees for making discrimination or harassment complaints or engaging in workplace investigations.

If you believe you have been the victim of retaliation in the workplace, contact the employment attorneys at McDonald & Kloth, LLC. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing both employees and employers in retaliation cases.

What Is Workplace Retaliation?

Retaliation is the most frequently claimed basis of discrimination in the federal sector. This occurs when an employer subjects an employee to adverse employment action because that employee has engaged in protected activity.

These such actions may include:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Transfer
  • Failure to promote
  • Reduction in pay or benefits

Generally speaking, the term “protected activity” refers to a situation where an employee:

  • Complains of and/or reports discrimination or harassment in the workplace aimed at him/her
  • Complains of and/or reports discrimination or harassment in the workplace aimed at another person
  • Filing a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the equivalent state administrative agency
  • Whistleblowing

What Should You Do If You Suspect Retaliation?

If you suspect retaliation, make sure that you take the proper steps to open and build your case. First, speak with your supervisor or human resource representative regarding your situation. In some cases, your employer may have a plausible explanation. If not, don’t be afraid to voice your concern about the situation and that you feel you are being retaliated against.

Additionally, point out that the negative action took place only after you complained and ask that it stop immediately. You may need to take your concerns to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state’s fair employment agency.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibits punishing job applicants or employees for affirming their rights to be exempt from employment discrimination and harassment. Although participating in a complaint process is protected from retaliation, engaging in EEOC activity does not shield an employee from all discipline. Employers may discipline or even terminate employees for non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons.

An Employee Has Protection Whether Their Claim is True or Not

A complaining employee is protected whether their charges are proven true or false in order to preserve and protect their rights. Additionally, this encourages employees who experience discrimination or retaliation to come forward and report it.

Generally speaking, you can build a retaliation case by showing a connection between your complaint and the employer’s retaliatory behavior. Document the behavior and keep track of information prior to your complaint. For example, if your boss claims your performance is inadequate after you make a complaint, be sure to produce emails or other documents demonstrating that your boss was satisfied with your performance before the complaint.

Consult With an Attorney at McDonald & Kloth, LLC

The employment attorneys at McDonald & Kloth, LLC have extensive experience representing clients in retaliation cases. If you believe that you have been subjected to retaliation, we can help. We can tell you based on the facts and evidence how strong your case is, what compensation you can potentially recover and more. Contact us today.