Retaliation may occur more frequently when managers are poorly suited for their roles as manager. Management requires a deep understanding of human behavior, as opposed to merely being a subject matter expert for the group they manage. Certain personalities have been found to be more prone to retaliatory behavior.
One behavioral attribute managers may fall victim to is that of a sense of entitlement. While being a manager typically carries added responsibilities, it often comes with many perquisites. A manager may have an assistant or more than one. They may have an office that comes with extra trappings of power, such as a window or the vaunted “corner office.”
It may come with more space and a conference table or couch, again, with size indicating greater power within the organization. They may receive a car, more generous travel and entertainment allowances and other “preqs” that differentiate them from lower-level employees.
This can lead to their belief that they are entitled to these things and to the deference that often accompanies power. When someone files a discrimination claim, it is seen as a personal affront to power.
Because of their sense of entitlement, they assume by definition that the accuser must be wrong and that not only are they wrong, they must be punished for their offense of questioning the behavior of “their superiors.”
For businesses that encourage and enable this type of work environment, the risk of retaliation lawsuits will remain high. Better training, and a winnowing of authoritarian or entitled managers from the ranks is a good way to reduce the risk of retaliatory conduct and the litigation that follows.
Source: fedweek.com, “EEOC Examines Retaliation in Workplace,” August 26, 2015