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What does workplace retaliation look like?

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2021 | Employment Law

Rhode Island employers need to take complaints of harassment or discrimination seriously. Unfortunately, many choose a more combative option and punish the victims instead. Workplace retaliation is a devastating issue that can make clocking into work exceptionally difficult, and can even alter the course of a person’s career path. 

What is workplace retaliation? 

Workplace retaliation can refer to any number of adverse actions that an employer takes against employees who file harassment or discrimination complaints. Workers are supposed to be protected by law against such actions, as is anyone else who is involved in an investigation related to a complaint. Despite this, many face uphill battles after filing complaints and may even lose their jobs in the process. Some other common examples of retaliation include: 

  • Demotions 
  • Pay reductions 
  • Negative evaluations 
  • Reassignments 
  • Disciplinary actions 

Sometimes investigations determine that a worker’s complaint was not valid. However, the validity of a claim has nothing to do with whether retaliation is appropriate. Employers should never retaliate against someone who brings a complaint, even if they suspect something is untrue. It is also important to avoid unintentional retaliations too, such as moving a worker who filed a complaint until the investigation is completed. 

Workplace retaliation is often associated with negative financial and emotional outcomes. Victims of retaliation may struggle to move forward in their careers or suffer significant setbacks that push them into new job paths. Getting help is a priority for many victims in Rhode Island, such as by pursuing a retaliation claim against a current or former employer.