What Is Retaliation: 4 Major Tips To Prevent

What Is Retaliation: 4 Major Tips To Prevent

The Facts

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Retaliation refers to demoting, firing, or harassing an employee in a workplace or individual because they registered a complaint of discrimination, took part in an investigation into prejudice, or have resisted bias. In simpler terms, retaliation is a situation where an employee who reports on dangerous or unlawful practices in their workplace receives punitive consequences from their company or manager.

Understanding Retaliation in a Workplace 

If a worker in any organization gets unjust or unsuitable treatment from their supervisor after filing a harassment complaint at Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or testifying as a witness, it is organizational retaliation.

Managers, human resources workers, and other team members should get training on retaliation in the workplace to reasonably analyze if an employee is undergoing workplace retaliation, manage the problem suitably and avert any recurrence from occurring in the future.

So we can say that workplace retaliation happens when a supervisor or company administrator takes adverse action against a worker who files a legal complaint about organizational prejudice or harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) considers this act of registering a complaint a protected action. Since it remains protected, this act can make it unlawful for an employer or other business administrator to react to the formal complaint in a punitive or unsuitable way.

In addition, common reactions from an administrator that the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) thinks of workplace retaliation are: 

  • Keeping employees from attending conferences or other events the company hosts.
  • Moving an employee to a separate unit or work area.
  • Withholding the worker from a promotion or raise.
  • Providing the employee with an adverse work review.
  • Making the employee’s work conditions feel dangerous or discomfiting. 
  • Restricting the number of hours the employee operates.

Employer Retaliation at The Federal Level 

The United States Congress has enacted multiple laws intending to end workplace retaliation. These same acts guard specific employee actions. Some examples of these acts are:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 1964
  • The Equal Pay Act
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

These federal acts restrict employer retaliation that might end when an employee registers a discrimination charge. Also, these acts define employer retaliation to any unfavorable job action taken against an employee who has filed a complaint of:

  • Harassment
  • Discrimination
  • A violation of workplace regulation

An example of this can be when a supervisor terminates an employee after they register a complaint about workplace harassment with EEOC.  Given the protections offered by these federal acts, companies remain prohibited from deterring or preventing employees from partaking in any inquiries. It is valid regardless of whether the investigation is in-house or performed by a national agency. 

In addition, retaliation or adverse action further remains restricted by supervisors and fellow workers. According to federal law, it is unlawful for an administrator to fire an employee from their position in response to exercising their different employment privileges.

Examples of Workplace Retaliation 

Prejudice retaliation is a particularly intricate form of workplace bias and retaliation. An instance of this is if a supervisor has employed or terminated a worker based only on their ethnicity. If the employee gets badly treated after they file a complaint about getting harassed or fired based on their race, the employer could remain liable for retaliation. 

For instance, if a female employee complains to EEOC about getting harassed sexually at work who later gets less or no bonus is an example of retaliation. These are employer actions that are deemed unlawful because companies cannot differentiate based on gender identity or expression by inflicting benefits or work situations that result in the worker’s pay getting affected in any way.

Some of the most prevalent examples of employment retaliation comprise, but is not restricted to:

  • Refusing to employ a claimant.
  • Firing a claimant.
  • Lowering the claimant’s payment or work benefits.
  • Having the claimant transferred to a different branch against their choice.
  • Demanding the claimant to partake in exercises outside of their area of employment as a form of retribution.
  • Forcing premature retirement on an employee who does not expect to retire yet.
  • Providing unnecessarily unfavorable or unsubstantiated job evaluations.
  • Insisting that the claimant waive or drop their right to sue in exchange for a more advantageous position in the company.
  • Risen supervision of the claimant during operating hours.

It is further essential to note that federal regulation does not penalize inaction or explain social etiquette. An instance of this would be how disregarding a colleague is not restricted and would not likely get considered an unfavorable act according to employment regulations. Four principal elements are used to define what comprises employment retaliation, and they are:

  • A worker engages in a protected action.
  • The employer takes unfavorable action against the worker.
  • The employee belongs to a guarded class, and as such, they are a covered person.
  • The negative response was directly caused by the employee’s protected class or activity.

Tips for Preventing Workplace Retaliation 

If you exercise proper preventative steps, you can keep workplace retaliation instances from happening in your organization. Here are some tips for preventing workplace retaliation. 

  • Create guidelines that summarize your company’s retaliation policies 

Enlighten and inform your workers and company supervisors of what comprises workplace retaliation by distinctly drafting it in a policy. In addition, you can include a section in your employee handbook that describes what workplace retaliation is and define your anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rules.

This guideline should facilitate employees to feel safe while approaching administration or the human resources (HR) unit with any harassment, prejudice, or retaliation suits. 

  • Train all team members on these policies 

After providing your employees with an opportunity to examine these policies and guidelines, conduct training sessions to ensure they comprehend these regulations. Hold a training session for employees that explains workplace retaliation. 

Organize another session to train human resource team members on ways to address retaliation claims. Host a conclusive session that assists supervisors in comprehending how to control workplace retaliation. 

After completing these training sessions, provide an authorized document stating the meeting minutes. Have every team member sign the document to confirm they took part in training and comprehend the details in the sessions.  

  • Conduct disciplinary meetings with workers, and report them all to HR managers 

If a manager is punishing an employee for reasonable reasons, they should document each punitive discussion with the human resource team before discussing it with the employee. Tell the supervisor to report their explanation for the meeting and have the human resource manager approve the punitive action they’re taking before they move ahead. It assists in ensuring the action taken is reasonable if an employee declares it as workplace retaliation. 

  • Document and maintain files of every meeting and warning

The manager should write each punitive or exemplary discussion to verify that they circulated warnings before taking action. Supervisors should also collect files, emails, and projects to prove the employee had unsatisfactory work performance or exhibited unacceptable conduct. Keeping a bunch of files that explain the actions of your business managers and supervisors can be an effective way to control workplace retaliation.

The Bottom Line 

To sum up, we can say that if the employee is facing retaliation in your workplace, you must not take it lightly and take suitable actions to understand the cause of this problem. Furthermore, you should speak to employees to understand another side of the story and exercise necessary measures to solve these issues. 

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