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The legal definitions of adverse employment actions

On Behalf of | May 4, 2022 | Employment Law, Workplace Discrimination

An adverse employment action is an employer’s action that negatively affects an employee who is discriminated against. An adverse action is also an act of employer retaliation that results from discrimination. In Rhode Island, employers are required to understand federal employment laws and respect the rights of their employees.

Understanding an adverse employment action

An experience of discrimination or retaliation at work results in an “adverse employment action,” according to federal anti-discrimination laws. Examples of these actions include:

• Termination

• Demotion

• Suspension

• Negative performance evaluation

An adverse employment action is a significant act that leads to a serious consequence, such as a job termination or suspension from work for several days. A minor act like filing a false report about an employee is not usually included.

For an action to be discriminatory, it must be proven to be unreasonable and made primarily because the person belongs to one of the protected classes. An act of employment discrimination occurs when an employee or job applicant experiences an adverse action because of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.

The meaning of employer retaliation

Employees who file discrimination cases may face acts of employer retaliation. This occurs when an employer retaliates after an employee complains about discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Acts of retaliation include negative work evaluations, demotions, terminations, work reassignments or salary reductions.

Protecting workers legally

Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1991 prohibits employment discrimination when the person belongs to a protected class. Employers and employees should receive training on how to identify and prevent acts of workplace discrimination and harassment. This includes learning about the basic definitions of harassment and protected classes that are mentioned under employment laws.