If your employer is taking adverse actions against you for participating in a protected activity or exercising your rights as an employee, it is against the law. Protected activities include filing for worker’s compensation benefits, assisting a harassment investigation or even whistleblowing.
Your employer may demote you, reduce your wages and benefits, change your working schedules or deny you a promotion, among other types of retaliation actions. If this happens, you have rights and are entitled to protect your interests.
What should you do?
The first and most important thing you should do is document your ordeal. Any communication records, witness statements and other evidence supporting your retaliation claim will go a long way in proving your case. The next step is to inform your supervisor or the human resource department.
However, should the internal mechanisms fail to address the situation and the retaliatory action is not rectified, it may be time to escalate the matter.
Several legal options are at your disposal. They include filing a retaliation claim against your employer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency responsible for administering and enforcing civil rights at the workplace, or suing your employer in a court of law.
If you prove that your employer violated your rights as an employee, they may be ordered to reinstate you if the retaliation involved your job termination. They may also be mandated to pay you any wages or benefits you might have missed out on and other damages such as the emotional distress you suffered due to their actions.
As a victim of workplace retaliation, it is advisable to seek legal help. An attorney can help assess your options and ensure you make the best choice of dealing with the matter under the prevailing circumstances.