Whether you realize that a manager has engaged in illegal activities or witnessed harassment of another worker, speaking up can be hard for an employee to do. After all, companies often aren’t happy about those who rock the boat.
Workers who assert their rights under employment laws have protection from retaliation by their employer. Unfortunately, most companies feel like they can get away with retaliation as long as they don’t fire someone right away after that person make a report. Knowing what employer retaliation looks like can help you identify mistreatment by your employer when you stand up for what’s right.
Disrupting your job
If you report misconduct or harassment, you should not be the one who gets punished. If the company has to transfer someone to a different shift or place someone on a leave of absence to avoid conflict during its investigation, they should take action against the person accused and not the person who reports the issue or claims to be the victim. Retaliation could include demoting you, moving you to another shift or transferring you to a different department with fewer opportunities for advancement.
Building a case to fire you
Summary termination after a report to Human Resources would look pretty suspicious, so companies won’t usually retaliate in such an obvious manner. Instead, they will try to make it look like they have justification for terminating, demoting or otherwise punishing you.
Writing you up for infractions that they don’t punish other workers for or suddenly changing their perspective on your work performance and giving you poor reviews could be a warning that you will soon face wrongful termination.
If you face any of these behaviors from your employer, your career could take a hit because you did what’s right. Pushing back against retaliation may require legal action, but that can help you recover lost wages and other consequences of employer misconduct.