Retaliation in the workplace is an ugly thing. Currently, retaliation occurs whenever the employer punishes the employee for doing something that is legally protected. Most of the time, this revolves around reporting bad or illegal behavior or insisting on observance of your rights such as religious observance of holy days or avoidance of unions. Anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws at both the state and federal level are intended to prevent this from happening or at least reduce the frequency of occurrences.

Get started Ask an Employment Lawyer a Question You'll hear back in one business day.

What Are Some Examples of Retaliation?

You might assume that retaliation must involve firing, but it actually refers to a number of negative actions, including:
• Pay reduction or hour reduction
• Demotion
• Disciplinary action
• Unpleasant job or shift reassignment
• Harassment

Currently, the legal standard at both the state and federal level focuses on the reasonable person with some modifications based on the individual situation. In other words, so long as your boss's action would be likely to deter a reasonable person from engaging in the protected activity, you probably have a case of retaliation.

How to Pursue a Retaliation Claim

The more obvious the retaliation, the easier it is to pursue a claim. But if your employer uses subtle methods of retaliation, it may be more difficult to prove. The employee must demonstrate the link that joins the negative behavior with the legally protected action. Keeping track of objective facts can help prove that retaliation is taking place. For instance, if you have never run into any complaints about your job performance and in fact received a memo from your boss stating how pleased he was, you save that statement. It can serve as proof after you make your complaint or report negative behavior, if then suddenly your boss claims that your performance is bad. Remember that to defend himself or herself, your boss must demonstrate that your performance is poor or that he has reasons for making the claims. Be prepared for this in advance, so that when you make your report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or to the Fair Employment Practice Agency at the state level, you can provide actionable information.

For more help with a retaliation case, get legal advice from a lawyer.

Get started Ask an Employment Lawyer a Question You'll hear back in one business day.

Get started Ask an Employment Lawyer a Question You'll hear back in one business day.