What should I do if I am being retaliated against at work? As a fresh employee in your dream job, you started facing acts of harassment and discrimination from the manager. He’ll either grope you once you cross paths at the hallway or make some uncomplimentary remarks about your gender and race.
You decide to report to the HR but neither a report was filed nor any other action taken. The only thing you got was a corner arrangement in the office where he was made to apologize to you. You later discover incessant investigations and further acts of harassment directed at you and you’re confused as to either what is happening or what to do. Well, you are a victim of illegal retaliation and here’s what you are to do.
Workplace retaliation arises when an employer punishes an employee for lodging a complaint about discrimination or harassment or reporting illegal activity. Retaliation is in most cases said to be caused by whistle-blowing but it occurs for a lot more reasons.
It can include any negative job action such as; arbitrary firing, demotion, unfair discipline, salary reduction, shift reassignment etc. It can also take more subtle forms like poor job review, micromanaging everything you do or exclusion from staff meetings on a project you are working on. Sometimes, it’s a witch-hunt process where the management notes every error or perceived mistake made by you all in an effort to build a case for your termination.
Detecting Retaliation in your workplace
You might be a victim of illegal retaliation without even knowing you are being retaliated against. In some instances, it is hard to find out if your employer is retaliating against you.
Sometimes, they change towards you after you report their conduct only in a professional manner. The only change you can clearly tag retaliatory is any which has an adverse effect on your employment.
However, some cases present too clear negative happenings for you to reasonably suspect retaliation. A good illustration can be when your boss fired you for some soft line reasons like not being a “problem solver’’ just a few days after complaining to management about him harassing you sexually.
It is important for you to know that not every act of illegal retaliation is obvious, direct and includes job threat. Some can be more subtle that you’ll be caught in oblivion.
What you should do.
Once you reasonably suspect you are being retaliated against, take the following steps;
-Talk to your Supervisor or HR Rep: Demand explanation for these negative acts form your Human resource representative or supervisor. Ask precise questions. There might be some honest explanation for your change in shift or demotion.
However, if your employee cannot give any explanation you find legitimate enough, air your concern of retaliation pointing out the coincidence between the time of the negative action and the time of filing your complaint. Also, ask that the negative action stop immediately.
– Take your concerns to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the State’s Fair employment Agency. This is necessary if your employee is neither willing to admit guilt or correct the problems.
It is advisable to get professional help by talking to a wrongful termination attorney. An experienced wrongful termination attorney will help you determine the feasibility of your case and walk you through the necessary steps to follow.