What is retaliation in employment?

On Behalf of | Dec 24, 2019 | Blog |

Employment law is a very complex area that can be difficult for businesses to keep up with when they are trying to run a company. Unfortunately, not knowing the laws isn’t an excuse for failing to comply with them.

One area of the law that can be rather challenging is retaliation. There are so many things that could be considered retaliation that it is often difficult to determine disciplinary measures appropriate for an employee who has done something against the rules.

What is retaliation?

Retaliation means taking any adverse employment action against a person who has done something that is considered protected. Adverse actions can mean anything from failing to hire a person to termination. It also includes pay cuts, demotions and moving them to an unfavorable shift or location.

It is imperative that employers who are taking adverse actions against employees have proper records that document the reasons. Being able to show that an employee wasn’t doing their job properly, was willfully disobeying the established rules or was behaving in an unfavorable manner can make a big difference if the person claims that the actions were retaliatory.

What are protected actions?

There are many types of protected actions against which employers may not retaliate. These include filing complaints against the company or making reports about things going on in the company. It can also stem from failing to being a willing victim of sexual harassment or discrimination.

Another protected action is requesting accommodations for a religious reason or a disability. Participating in an investigation or testifying against the company as part of a legal action are also protected activities.

Protected activities must be based on facts. The employee can’t file a false report or lie and think that they will be able to be protected against retaliation.

What can employees do about retaliation?

It is difficult to make a case based on employer retaliation. Being able to show a direct correlation between participation in a protected activity and adverse employment action can help. You might be able to demonstrate that you’ve done a good job by pointing to positive employment records. This can shine a light on how adverse employment action was unreasonable.

You might be able to take legal action to rectify the situation. Learning these options can help you to make an informed decision about the direction of your case.