Retaliation Claims in the Workplace

It is vital that employers ensure that their employees are not retaliated against for raising issues against discrimination or harassment. If the employer does not treat an employee with care after filing a discrimination or harassment complaint; they may find themselves in a nasty lawsuit. If you are an employer, manager, supervisor, or HR representative, it is essential that you become familiar with the law of retaliation. Retaliation claims have become a frequent occurrence in the workplace.

 

What is Retaliation

Job applicants and employees have the right to work free from discrimination based on age, race, gender, sexual preference, or religion under federal and state laws. An employer may not punish a worker for displaying their right to be free from discrimination in the workplace. This is considered retaliation. If an employee participates in an investigation as a result of these problems, an employer may not punish them for cooperating with a government agency looking into a discrimination claim. It is vital that an employer does not continue to harass the employee after the claim was made. Unfavorable actions against an employee during a discrimination or harassment investigation includes discipline, firing, demotion, salary reduction, and hostile behaviors or attitudes. Even if the original complaint is unjustified, if the employee has evidence of negative behavior due to the complaint, they can still win the retaliation claim.

 

How to Prevent Retaliation

As an employer, you may want to take these precautionary actions following a discrimination or harassment claim:

  • Document everything. Take notes of all you do to prevent retaliation.
  • Keep all complaints confidential. Only tell those who need to know about the situation.
  • It is essential to have a policy against retaliation before an employee complains. Inform your employees on the steps they can take if they feel discriminated against.
  • Get in contact with the employee who is filing the complaint. Ensure them that you are taking the claim seriously and hear them out about what they considered to be harmful or hostile.