Employees have the right to complain about certain things when working. This includes filing reports related to things like sexual harassment, discrimination or violations of the law.
Since employees should be free to make these reports, employers can’t take negative employment actions against them. Some investigations require witness accounts. Employees can’t be punished for speaking up during this phase of an investigation. Any adverse employment action is considered retaliation.
#1: Termination isn’t required
Retaliation doesn’t mean only termination. Instead, a host of actions are included in this category. The key here is that the action must be taken as a direct response to the employee participating in the protected activity. Some examples of retaliatory activities include:
- Scheduling the employee for less desirable shifts
- Moving them to a less convenient location
- Reducing the employee’s pay or hours
- Making working conditions unbearable for the employee
- Starting or spreading rumors about the worker
- Writing false unfavorable evaluations
- Demoting the employee
#2: Witnesses are included
The person who’s protected from retaliation doesn’t have to be the subject of the harassment or discrimination. People who are witnesses and those who actively participate in the investigation into these matters are protected. The key here is that they must stick to factual statements. Employees can still face the consequences if they make false statements during the initial report or any steps that follow it.
#3: Performance must be up to standards
Employees must continue to do their job duties up to the required standard. Even if they participate in a protected activity, they still must comply with the company’s policies or they can risk disciplinary measures. The situations involving these individuals must be handled the exact same way as any other disciplinary issue that occurs with employees.
Anyone who’s been subjected to retaliatory actions at work should learn about their options for dealing with these matters. You have a limited time that you can act so don’t wait too long to get started. Working with someone familiar with these matters is beneficial since they can provide you with information to help you make decisions in your best interests.