Retaliation occurs when your employer or superior takes adverse action against you for engaging in a protected activity. Such activities include actions like:
- Reporting violations of laws such as fraud
- Cooperating with an investigation about unlawful employer conduct
- Requesting reasonable accommodation due to a disability or religious reasons
- Enquiring from your colleagues or managers about salary information in a bid to uncover wage discrimination, among other actions protected by law
There is more to retaliation than a job dismissal
As stated earlier, retaliation can be any undesirable action taken against you. A job dismissal is the most extreme form of retaliation, but other shapes retaliation may take include:
- A demotion or transfer to a less desirable position
- Increased scrutiny for no apparent reason
- A pay cut that only affects you
- Verbal or physical abuse
- Exclusion from office activities such as meetings
The above list is not exhaustive, as retaliation can take several other forms. Therefore, it is essential to be keen and protect your legal rights.
Are you a victim of workplace retaliation?
Retaliation is illegal under California law, and if you are a victim, you may seek legal recourse. But, first, it is important to report it to your supervisor, if possible, or the human resource department of your organization. There may be valid reasons for the actions being taken against you. If there are none, voice your concerns that you are facing retaliation and ask it to stop immediately.
Your employer is likely to deny it, so you should point out that such action began only after, say, you complained or reported workplace discrimination. If the situation does not change, you may seek an audience with your state’s fair employment agency. You may need supporting evidence to back your case, so it may help to document your situation as it unfolds at your workplace. Taking informed steps is in your best interests to end the retaliation actions against you.