Workplace Retaliation Settlements

Workplace Retaliation Settlements

The Facts

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Workplace retaliation settlements and claims are usually the most prevalent harassment charges registered with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). According to a report, nearly 49% of all EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) filings concerned workplace retaliation. 

Some recent instances emphasize the effect of workplace retaliation settlements on a workplace's bottom line, not to mention productivity and reputation. With these increasing workplace retaliation settlement claims, it is more crucial than ever for every organization to execute an anti-retaliation training program.

What do We mean by Retaliation in a Workplace?

Retaliation in a workplace usually arrives in numerous forms, including false allegations, blocklisting, unfair scrutiny, unnecessary discipline, and unlawful termination of employees. Organizations are increasingly receiving workplace retaliation settlement claims given these increased retaliation instances. Workplace retaliation can add to a toxic work atmosphere, but it can also lead to suits. 

Moreover, workplace retaliation occurs when an employee with authority exercises their authority over another employee with less control to negatively influence their employment or professional progress in the organization or even how that individual is sensed by leadership. In other terms, there is usually a power differential when workplace retaliation occurs. 

It is given that employees either did something that the managers did not consent to or did not do something they wanted, and retaliation can be subtle or blatant. Thus, seemingly legitimate activities help retaliate against an employee and establishing retaliation needs thorough research and evidence. 

Under the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) laws, it is prohibited to penalize job applicants or employees for maintaining their rights to be free from job prejudice, including harassment. EEOC further describes that maintaining these rights are known as "protected activity," and defines numerous activities it is illegal to retaliate against employees or job applicants for:

  • Registering or being a bystander in an EEO complaint, charge, investigation, or lawsuit
  • Communicating with a director or administrator about employment prejudice, including harassment
  • Resolving queries during an employer analysis of alleged harassment
  • Denying obeying orders that would end in discrimination.
  • Fighting sexual advances or interfering to protect others.
  • Inviting accommodation of a disability or for a religious convention
  • Asking leaders or co-workers regarding compensation information to discover potentially prejudiced wages.

A principal part of a Human Resource manager is to control retaliation by partnering with the administration to build a secure working atmosphere for your workforce. HR managers must familiarize administrators and supervisors regarding key protected categories and protected activities legislation. Moreover, the HR division must create and revamp procedures that mirror the regulations and hold all employees accountable to the same criteria. 

In addition, if there are workplace retaliation claims, it is the HR manager's role to examine the claims and evaluate the findings comprehensively. They must also ensure that these claims uphold the regulation, align with the workplace's code of conduct, strengthen HR's responsibility to be accurate and fair, and encourage a psychological safety culture.

What Are Some Signs of Workplace Retaliation?

When leading a workplace and managing individuals, legitimate findings will not always please everyone in your workplace and might also be disadvantageous to some. The crucial thing for administrators and supervisors to consider is whether these choices can be viewed as disparate treatment or adversely affect protected categories. 

They must also ensure the decisions are not retaliation or prejudice against employees for engaging in the guarded activity. Hence until there is comprehensive research and proof of retaliation, employees should not think that every adverse experience at the workplace is discriminatory or retaliation. If they sense strongly about it, they should submit a formal complaint to the human resource manager.

Alternatively, human resource managers should not overlook workplace retaliation settlements claims because there are legitimate company decisions that negatively affect employees. The company must comprehensively research and objectively judge all workplace retaliation claims. Some possible signs of workplace retaliation are as follows: 

1. Hostility 

Hostility in an organization is never acceptable. Nevertheless, it does occur. There can be numerous reasons when it does: one of them is retaliation. According to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), hostility in the workplace is biased, severe, pervasive, and (obviously) undesirable. So hostility or workplace retaliation settlement cases may arise due to:

  • Blaming the employee or delivering a performance evaluation that is lower than it should be
  • Humiliating the employee, particularly publicly
  • Excluding a particular employee from meetings that impact their work portfolio
  • Engaging in verbal, physical, or emotional abuse
  • Unfair and harsh scrutiny
  • Circulating false buzzes, tarnishing, or defaming the employee.
  • Making the individual's work more challenging (for instance, penalizing an employee by changing their job schedule to clash with family or other known obligations).

2. Demotion

This is a legitimate mechanism for administrators and supervisors. Demotion may be required when an employee is not working well. Nonetheless, if an employee is downgraded without a valid reason, it may be retaliation. Your workplace should have a procedure that communicates when demotions can occur.

3. Salary Reduction or Bonuses Elimination

Perk elimination or salary deduction may be accompanied by demotion. It also may occur when a company encounters financially difficult times or restructuring. Nevertheless, salary reduction must be valid, and there should be a concurrent guideline that describes when a pay reduction is required. If there is no justifiable cause or a consistently applied guideline, retaliation may be the reason.

Ways to prevent retaliation in your workplace 

Here are some ways to prevent workplace retaliation settlement claims at your workplace. 

  • Create Written Policies

Create a written anti-retaliation guideline and policies on how workplace retaliation should be registered and analyzed. Also, ensure that the guidelines and policies remain accessible to your employees to reduce the odds of claims arising. 

  • Deliver Training to Your Workforce 

Your workforce must understand what workplace retaliation is and why it may occur. It also has to comprehend that not every adverse or undesirable situation is a form of workplace discrimination or retaliation. Leadership and administrators need extensive training to identify and control retaliation in the organization, legal needs, and repercussions, and manage employee objections. 

Communicate your training objectives to the administrators that they need to document all disciplinary meetings to the HR manager. HR managers need to understand how to identify and manage retaliation suits. They should also be exceptionally clear on the methods to report and analyze these claims.

  • Create an Investigation Procedure for Workplace Retaliation Settlement Claims

Your workplace retaliation settlement claim's investigation procedure should outline detailed measures that your company and the HR division invariably follow when analyzing retaliation claims. That way, you can ensure that you never miss out on any step in the procedure.

  • Document and Record Everything

It concerns the details of meetings, accomplishments, recognition, and notices. Unfortunately, numerous organizations have a propensity to record more negative than positive. The favorable actions, ideas, and achievements are crucial, especially in deciding if claims of retaliation are genuine.

The Bottom Line 

Familiarizing your workforce with workplace retaliation settlement claims, having evident approaches in place, and building a culture of confidence assist you in preventing workplace retaliation claims and ensuring your workforce is treated fairly under all occurrences. HR managers, usually working as mediators between employees and leadership, need to feel empowered and helped to do the right thing to guard the company and the employees.

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