While most employers handle disciplinary measures in a way that best suits the environment and work culture, some may use punishment as a way to retaliate against an employee’s work-related complaint. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity reports that this type of retaliation falls under discrimination and is therefore unlawful.
One way to fight employer retaliation is to learn the signs of this tactic and document each action so employees can present their cases to a manager or company owner.
1. Rumor spreading
Employers who wish to retaliate against any employee who reports unfair work practices or any kind of discrimination may find themselves the subject of untrue or malicious rumors. This may include gossip about an employee’s family, sexuality, religion or lifestyle.
2. Increased performance scrutiny
Employers who use retaliation against employees may begin to judge their work unfairly or over-scrutinize details that were of no importance in the past. The employer may also point out mistakes when others are present to undermine that employee’s confidence. Over time, this can lead to increased stress and insecurity about job performance.
3. Sudden transfers or demotions
While transfers in some industries are more common than others, when employers transfer or demote employees who have a discrimination complaint filed, this may be an act of retaliation. Employees who find themselves demoted or transferred may want to request, in writing, the reason behind this action.
Because retaliation is not a legal act, employees who suspect they are a target may want to report their suspicions to the department head to avoid further abuse.