Discrimination, harassment, and other questionable activities occur in many workplaces. However, employees may hesitate to report such misconduct for fear of retaliation from their coworkers or, worse, their employer. Unfortunately, recognizing, proving, and avoiding retaliatory actions can be difficult as they are often implicit.
Below are six subtle ways your employers may retaliate against you for reporting misconduct.
They are ignoring you.
You may find your boss giving you the silent treatment. Not only do they talk to you less, but they may also:
- Exclude you from meetings and company events
- Stop inviting you to out-of-office gatherings
- Isolate you from your coworkers
These could indicate retaliation if these changes occurred only after you reported misconduct and they apply only to you.
They are micromanaging you.
Too much attention from your employer is just as dubious as too little. After you file a report, your boss may scrutinize everything you do and become overly critical of your activities. They might also suddenly hold your work to higher-than-usual standards.
They demoted or denied you a promotion.
Your employer may retaliate by demoting you to a lower position with less pay or potential for career growth. They may also give you negative performance evaluations even though you’ve always done your job well, or they might deny you a well-deserved promotion.
They are giving you more tasks.
Your employer may try to intimidate you by increasing your workload or giving you tasks that are too difficult or inconvenient. Extra work doesn’t automatically indicate retaliation, but if the change happened only after you reported misconduct, you have reason to be suspicious.
They reduced your hours.
On the other hand, cutting your work hours out of the blue could be a subtle form of retaliation. Having fewer work hours means you are paid less. This tactic could be your employer’s way of forcing you to quit.
They changed your shift.
Some jobs involve changing shifts, and some shifts are better than others. If you consistently get the most difficult, inconvenient, and dangerous shifts after making a report, then your boss may be retaliating against you.
Employer retaliation discourages employees from speaking up about workplace misconduct. Recognizing retaliatory actions, no matter how subtle, is essential to creating safer and less hostile workplaces.