It is illegal for an employer to punish an employee in any way for reporting workplace violations, discrimination, wage theft, or other improper behavior. Additionally, your employer cannot retaliate against you for participating in union activities, recreational interests outside of work, or for informally discussing workplace grievances online or with coworkers. However, this does not stop employers from firing those who speak out. In our experience, most employees who speak out against discrimination, wage theft or other activities will experience retaliation and be fired, but not right after making a complaint.
Examples of Retaliation
The law forbids retaliation when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. Examples of employer retaliation could include:
- Disciplinary action;
- Salary reduction;
- Job or shift reassignment;
- Unreasonably poor performance review;
- Denial of a deserved raise or promotion; or
- Preventing training or mentoring opportunities
Consequences of Avoiding Retaliation
If you are the victim of employer retaliation, you can get the upper hand in these workplace showdowns. You must be aware of your rights, and the legally-protected activities that you are entitled to engage in — without fear of losing your job, unfair criticism, or being shunned at work. Don’t wait for the other shoe to drop before you get legal advice. Valuable strategic advantage will be lost and your employer will continue to unfairly marginalize you, boxing you into a corner with bogus performance reviews, inconsistent criticisms, and outright hostility in the hopes that you will resign.