We Fight For Employee Rights

What is workplace retaliation, and what are some signs of it?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | Employment Law

Many different situations might warrant filing a complaint against a Rhode Island employer. However, in some cases, the employer might retaliate against the employee who does so.

Retaliation explained

Employer retaliation occurs when an employer acts out against an employee for rightfully making a complaint against illegal or unethical practices in a company. This could be due to discrimination, harassment or criminal activity. Sometimes, an employee might be a whistleblower and report the employer.

When retaliation is perpetrated, it usually removes a particular right or privilege from the worker. It can be done in an obvious or very subtle way.

Signs of retaliation in the workplace

Certain situations signify that a worker is facing employer retaliation. One of the most obvious is termination. If a person complains against their employer for some wrongdoing and then gets fired, it’s a telltale sign. Demoting someone from their job position is another sign of retaliation.

Employers cannot take privileges or job tasks away from a worker for making a complaint. An unexplained salary reduction or decrease in work hours also signify that retaliation is occurring.

Employees cannot be excluded from staff meetings, work-related activities or outings simply because their manager wishes to punish them for whistleblowing or filing a complaint. If someone is up for a promotion or raise and doesn’t receive it without explanation, it might be considered retaliation.

What to do if retaliation occurs

Employer and workplace retaliation are illegal. Employees who face these violations have the right to file a complaint against their employer with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Keeping documentation of the facts of the situation can help prove that retaliation has occurred.

The EEOC investigates all retaliation complaints. Employers must cooperate and cannot prevent other employees from assisting in investigations.