What is Illegal Retaliation?
Retaliation is mistreatment for asserting rights the law protects. Asserting rights protected by the law is usually called engaging in “protected activity.”
The law prohibits punishment for engaging in protected activity. For example, the law prohibits retaliation for asserting the right to be free from employment discrimination.
Retaliation is a form of discrimination. For example, employees who suffer retaliation at work are treated differently because they engaged in protected activity.
Retaliation is the most frequently claimed basis of discrimination.
What is Protected Activity?
Employees engage in protected activity by:
- filing or being a witness in a complaint, investigation or lawsuit about illegal discrimination
- communicating with a manager about discrimination, including harassment
- answering questions during an investigation of alleged discrimination or harassment
- refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination
- resisting sexual advances or trying to protect others from them
- requesting accommodations for a disability or a religious practice
What Counts as Retaliation?
Retaliation can take many forms and depends on the facts.
For example, it could be retaliation if an employer takes action against an employee for engaging in protected activity by:
- reprimanding the employee
- giving the employee an unfairly low performance evaluation
- transferring the employee to a worse position;
- verbally abusing the employee
- increasing scrutiny of work;
- making the employee work harder
Employers Can Always Terminate Employees for Legal Reasons
The law allows employers to discipline or terminate employees for legitimate reasons.
Have you been the victim of retaliation at work? Contact Jeff.