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Recognizing and addressing retaliation in the workplace

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2024 | Employment Law For Employees |

Recognizing and addressing workplace retaliation helps foster a healthy and respectful work environment. Retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee for engaging in protected activities. Examples of “protected activities” might include reporting discrimination, harassment or unsafe working conditions.

Understanding the signs of retaliation and knowing how to respond helps protect employee rights. It also helps maintain workplace integrity.

Recognizing signs of retaliation

Identifying signs of retaliation can help employees address issues in a prompt, effective manner. These signs may include sudden changes in job responsibilities or negative performance evaluations. Exclusion from meetings or opportunities for advancement may also constitute retaliation. So, too, can verbal threats or intimidation from supervisors or coworkers. Recognizing these behaviors enables employees to take appropriate action to address retaliation.

Addressing retaliation

Addressing retaliation requires employees to take proactive steps to assert their rights and seek resolution. Employees should document instances of retaliation. In doing so, they should include dates, times and details of the retaliatory actions. They should also record the names of any witnesses present. They can then follow internal procedures for reporting retaliation. These might include filing complaints with human resources or a supervisor. If internal procedures fail to resolve the issue, employees may pursue external remedies. They may decide to do so through government agencies or legal channels.

Per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, retaliation is the most common alleged basis of discrimination in the federal sector. By promoting a culture where employees can report misconduct without fear of reprisal, employers create a safer, more supportive work environment for all.