Data compiled by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicates that workplace retaliation is the leading type of employment discrimination in the federal workplace.
When you run a business or own a company, you must know what illegal retaliation is so that you don’t unnecessarily expose yourself — and your business — to unnecessary (and expensive) lawsuits.
What is illegal workplace retaliation?
If you look up “retaliation” in a thesaurus, then you’ll quickly discover some familiar ways to describe this concept: Revenge, vengeance, reprisal or punishment are just a few of the many alternative ways to describe retaliation.
In the workplace, it’s considered illegal retaliation to discipline or otherwise penalize an employee for exercising their rights. For example, if an employer demotes or fires a worker for a whistleblower report about wasteful spending or sexual harassment, that action may fit the definition of retaliation. An employer who denies a disabled worker advancement training merely because they made a reasonable accommodations request may also be guilty of retaliation. The same logic applies if an employer penalizes workers who publicly voice their discontentment with their pay or work conditions.
An employer doesn’t have to fire a worker to constitute retaliation. An employee may sue your company if their supervisors start disparaging them in front of their colleagues or customers or engage in physical or verbal abuse over the situation. It’s also retaliation to give someone a poor job evaluation or start micromanaging their work without justification. Each of these behaviors can fall under the umbrella of retaliation.
What can you do to avoid a retaliation lawsuit?
All it takes is one employee waging such claims to destroy your company’s reputation and financially ruin it, though. You may want to consult with an employment litigation attorney before you discipline or terminate your California employee. You’ll minimize the chances of your company facing liability issues by doing so.