The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission aims to set forth guidance that protects employees against unfair or illegal practices by companies or coworkers. Some of the EEOC’s guidelines relate to harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

One problem employees may experience when dealing with potential discrimination or harassment allegations is retaliatory behavior on the part of their employers. It is important to understand what may constitute illegal retaliation.

Understanding punishing actions

As explained by the EEOC, an action clearly aimed at punishing an employee may be a form of retaliation. However, the behavior must be directly linked to the employee’s participation in some protected activity or an effort to exercise his or her rights related to a protected activity.

Understanding protected activities

Federal law grants every employee the right to engage in certain activities. These include asking a colleague about their earnings in an effort to uncover potentially unfair or discriminatory practices on the part of the employer, such as paying a male employee more than a female employee for the same job. An employee has the legal right to ask for accommodations due to a religious practice or disability.

Providing details to a company representative about suspected discrimination or harassment is another protected activity as is intervening to protect another party against an unwanted sexual advance.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give working residents in Texas some ideas about the types of activities that they should have the right to participate in without fear of being punished in any way by their employers.