Workers may not be aware that when they report discrimination or harassment, they are protected against workplace retaliation. If an employee complains about discrimination, harassment, or company wrongdoing, they are then protected under state and federal laws from retaliation. For example, if an employee complained to their supervisor, human resources department, or a state or federal agency stating that they were harassed as a result of their race, and were demoted shortly after, that is a form of retaliation.
What Constitutes Retaliation?
Retaliation can take many forms and it does not have to be as obvious as a demotion. Retaliation can take the form of any adverse employment action. It could be as subtle as changing the employee’s hours or moving their workspace to an undesirable location. For example, an employer may have permitted the employee to adjust their work hours to accommodate their childcare schedule. After a complaint of discrimination, if the employer then informs the employee that they can no longer adjust their schedule, that could be a form of retaliation.
Who Can Experience Retaliation?
Retaliation does not only apply to employees who complain, but also to employees who participate in an investigation. If one employee complains to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), who then contacts another employee to support the discrimination complaint, if that employee subsequently experiences an adverse work action, that could be deemed retaliation as well. Even though the cooperating employee did not initiate the discrimination complaint, they should not be retaliated against for participating in an investigation.
Supervisors and employees must be aware that it is unlawful to take adverse actions against those who come forward with complaints. Although this may feel unfair to those who believe they were wrongly accused, an investigation must be conducted to determine what occurred and employees and employers must wait for the results of that investigation to determine appropriate action.
Philadelphia Employment Retaliation Attorneys at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Help Employees Facing Work Retaliation
Employees who complain about discrimination and harassment at work are protected from retaliation. If you or someone you know experienced workplace retaliation, contact the Philadelphia employment retaliation attorneys at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and South Jersey.