Retaliation harassment in the workplace refers to unlawful prejudice when an employment agency, employer, or labor association takes damaging action against an individual, applicant, or another involved person for engaging in a protected action. For instance, registering a charge of harassment with a fair employment practices mechanism or getting involved in an investigation of alleged workplace harassment.
Understanding Retaliation in a Workplace
Workplace retaliation harassment is when the managers or company administrators take adverse action against any employee who registers a formal complaint regarding organizational harassment or discrimination. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) considers registering a complaint as a protected activity.
So since filing a complaint is a protected activity, it can be illegal for the managers or other company administrators to react to the complaint in a punitive or indecent manner. In addition, common reactions from a manager or company leaders that the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)considers workplace retaliation are as follows:
- Preventing employees from attending conferences or other occurrences the company hosts
- Repositioning an employee to a different division or workplace
- Withholding a worker from a raise or promotion
- Making offensive or hateful comments against any employee or treating an employee badly
- Providing the employee with an unfavorable performance review
- Making the employee's work conditions feel uncomfortable or unsafe
- Restricting the number of hours the employee works
Steps to Prevent Retaliation Harassment at Your Workplace
If you exercise appropriate preventative actions, you can keep retaliation harassment from happening in your workplace. Moreover, it is imperative to teach managers and upper-level administrators not to retaliate against workers who register protected complaints and report all protected objections to HR managers. It will help you ensure that no retaliatory decisions are made and that any possible claims are investigated. Here are some steps you can exercise to prevent workplace retaliation.
- Create guidelines that summarize your company's retaliation harassment prevention policies
Enlighten and inform your workforce and company administrators of what includes workplace retaliation harassment by clearly summarizing it in a guideline. In your employee manual, include a section describing workplace retaliation harassment and add information about your anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rules. This policy should enable employees to feel secure approaching the administration or the human resources (HR) team with any harassment, prejudice, or retaliation claims.
- Train all team members on these retaliation harassment guidelines
After providing your workforce with an opportunity to check these policies and guidelines, provide training sessions to guarantee they comprehend these regulations. Conduct a session for employees that explains workplace retaliation harassment.
In addition, you can also hire a trainer to instruct human resource staff members on how to address retaliation harassment claims. Companies can also conduct a final session that assists administrators in understanding how to control workplace retaliation harassment.
Also, after conducting these retaliation harassment prevention training, you must deliver an official record saying you conducted the session. Furthermore, you must have every team member sign and date the document to confirm they have undergone the retaliation harassment prevention training, comprehend the sessions' data, and retain these documents for future reference.
- Conduct disciplinary meetings with the workforce, and report them to the human resource manager.
If a manager is punishing an employee for reasonable reasons, they should document each punitive discussion with the human resource manager before meeting with the employee. Inform the supervisor to record their reason for the session and have human resources consent to the punitive action before they move ahead. It assists in ensuring the action exercised is suitable if an employee claims it as workplace retaliation harassment.
- Record and maintain files of each session and warning
The manager should record every punishing or warning session to verify that they circulated warnings before taking any disciplinary action. Administrators should also compile emails, projects, and files to prove the employee had unsatisfactory work performance or displayed unacceptable behavior. Keeping a bunch of files that explain the actions of your company administrators and managers can be an effective way to prevent workplace retaliation harassment.
- Ensure that all your employees' data remains secret.
Motivate your workforce to initially meet with the human resources division if they have any objections about company managers, leaders, or administrators. The human resource manager should ensure the details the employee shares in their session remains secret. They should also ensure the employees are safe from any possible retaliation or harassment related to this complaint.
For instance, if the employee thinks they are facing retaliation in the organization. In that case, the human resources team member should consult the employee manual to move over the organization's retaliation prevention policy to assist the employee in ensuring their claim qualifies as organizational retaliation harassment.
What can an Employee do if They Suspect Retaliation Harassment at Their Workplace?
If an employee thinks that their manager or employer is retaliating against them, it is better to talk to the human resources manager regarding the grounds for the negative actions. It's prudent to inquire about specifics as your employer or manager might own a reasonable explanation. For instance, you might get shifted to the night shift as you were earlier interested in it, or maybe you got a demotion due to your poor performance.
Nevertheless, if your employer cannot provide you with a reasonable reason, communicate your anxiety that you are being retaliated against in your workplace. Your organization will almost unquestionably deny it—and managers can retaliate without even realizing it. You should highlight that the wrong action only happened after you complained, and you should ask that it be instantly stopped.
Manager and supervisors' Role in Retaliation Harassment Prevention
When a retaliation harassment complaint comes to an administrator's or manager's attention, it is essential to monitor and document the details of the issues raised thoroughly. For example, the employee obtaining a retaliation harassment complaint should get training to ask questions about the occurrence(s), including where, when, and how frequently the retaliation harassment happened.
Furthermore, the recipient of the harassment charge should guarantee that employees exert their objections thoughtfully and remain prepared to stop such conduct when needed. In addition, managers and administrators must consider working with the reporting of the accused to determine potential solutions to their situation. Apart from this, leaders and administrators should likewise get trained on intervening in situations they observe to restrict or proper inapt conduct.
In some circumstances, the administrator's appearance might be all that is needed to stop managers in the organization from behaving inaccurately with their team members. In more extreme circumstances, the manager might need to converse directly with the harasser, if required, restrict the person from entering the workplace premises entirely.
Also, managers should remain mindful that they are bound to restrict retaliation, harassment, and other forms of discrimination. Likewise, they must ensure that a suitable dignity at work guideline remains in place and that the workforce gets conventional practice to limit retaliation harassment issues.
The Bottom Line
Retaliation harassment is the most significant threat for modern employers. It is accountable for the largest number of suits and major damages and penalties. Therefore, organizations must have a set retaliation harassment prevention policy that they must execute by conducting regular harassment prevention training sessions to remain guarded against all the lawsuits and other statutory charges.