When a company punishes an employee for standing up for his or her legal rights or for the legal rights of others, it is known as retaliation. Retaliation is prohibited when it occurs because an employee has reported discrimination, harassment, or other unlawful conduct.
Employees have the right to engage in certain activities in the workplace without fear of retaliation. In some instances, complaining to or about an employer is considered a protected action. Examples of protected complaints include complaints regarding workplace harassment, discrimination, or unpaid wages. Complaints are not legally protected, however, unless the complaint is reporting unlawful conduct.
Retaliation can take many different forms. In essence, it is any action taken in an effort to punish a employee for reporting unlawful conduct. An employer can retaliate against an employee in the following ways:
There are certain things you cannot do at work. Engaging in unacceptable behaviors, like coming to work drunk or starting fights with coworkers, can lead to a suspension, poor performance review, or termination. Employers are allowed to use disciplinary actions to discourage bad behavior in the workplace Employers are also entitled to take steps to address poor performance. These disciplinary tactics are only considered retaliation if they are used to curb unwanted, but protected employee behavior, like discussing unfair treatment in the workplace, filing discrimination claims, supporting others’ claims, and exercising the right to take family leave or request reasonable accommodations.
Retaliation in the workplace can hurt in many different ways. Beyond being upsetting, it can put you and your family under an unfair financial burden, which can continue if your reputation in your company or industry is hurt by the retaliatory behavior you face. The experienced employment lawyers at Minnis & Smallets LLP have successfully represented victims of retaliation. If you need help, call us at 415-551-0885 or fill out the online contact form.