While you know that your employer cannot discriminate against you, what can you do if it happens? Unfortunately, many employees fear their job or fear that the employer can make the workplace even more hostile after filing a complaint.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, you do have protections against retaliation.
Examples of retaliation
Retaliation may be any act that punishes an employee or colleague for his or her participation in an equal employment opportunity activity. Your boss cannot fire you if you report discrimination. Keep in mind that he or she can try to fire you for a non-related reason. Try to keep track of any evidence that proves retaliation. Other examples of retaliation include:
- Receiving worse assignments
- Being forced to take a leave of absence
- Being rejected for a job
- Being demoted
Often, you may see a clear difference in how the company treats you before and after the complaint in cases of retaliation.
Rules regarding retaliation
As an employee, you have every right to file a complaint or participate in an investigation involving harassment or discrimination. However, employers, colleagues and others cannot punish you for your actions.
For example, if you set up a meeting with a supervisor to discuss harassment or discrimination, he or she cannot suddenly demote you or fire you for no reason. If you undergo sexual harassment or if you witness it and intervene or put a stop to it, no one can punish you for your actions.
You have every right to request accommodations for your disability or religious practices.
Employers use retaliation to punish and discourage other employees from demanding that they treat them fairly according to their rights.