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4 indicators of workplace retaliation that you should be aware of

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Workplace Retaliation

If you are a worker who is classified as an employee – not an independent contractor – you are protected from workplace retaliation under various laws and regulations, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Whistleblower Protection Act. These laws prohibit employers from taking adverse actions against employees who report discrimination or other illegal activities in the workplace, in addition to those who exercise any other legal right and experience adverse action as a result.

However, retaliation can be subtle and difficult to identify accurately. Knowing what to look for can help you recognize potential retaliation. For example, the following are some indicators of retaliation that you should be aware of.

“Cold shoulder” treatment

This refers to coworkers and managers actively avoiding or excluding you from workplace activities, meetings, or social gatherings. You may notice that your colleagues are suddenly less willing to collaborate with you or provide necessary information for your work tasks. Managers might also exclude you from important discussions or decisions, effectively isolating you from the team.

Increased scrutiny or micromanagement

If you suddenly find yourself subject to heightened scrutiny or micromanagement from your supervisors, it could be a sign of retaliation. Your manager might excessively monitor your work, nitpick on minor mistakes, or set unreasonable deadlines, making it difficult for you to succeed in your role. This increased level of oversight is often a tactic used to create a hostile work environment and undermine your performance.

Unwarranted disciplinary actions

Retaliation can also manifest in the form of unwarranted disciplinary actions or negative performance evaluations. Your employer may unjustly criticize your work, impose disciplinary measures or give you poor performance reviews despite your consistent performance. These actions are often a means to punish you for speaking up about workplace issues or exercising your rights.

Negative changes in job duties or conditions

Another indicator of retaliation is when your employer makes negative changes to your job duties or working conditions. This could involve reassigning you to less desirable tasks, reducing your responsibilities or transferring you to a less favorable location or shift. These changes are often retaliatory in nature and aim to make your work environment uncomfortable or intolerable.

Retaliation can eventually lead to a toxic work environment and negatively impact your mental and emotional well-being. It’s important to document any suspicious behavior and seek guidance from HR and/or legal counsel if you believe you’re being retaliated against.