Under federal law, you have rights as an employee to not face discrimination and to complain about discrimination or wrongdoings within the company. Unfortunately, when employees do file a complaint or help another employee with a discrimination complaint, some supervisors or employers choose to take it out on the employee.
According to the EEOC, you have the right to assert your rights without fearing discrimination or retaliation from your employer.
Reasons employers may retaliate
Your employer does not have the right to retaliate. However, there are a few instances where an employer may attempt to, including:
- Speaking to a supervisor about harassment or discrimination
- Answering an investigator about alleged harassment
- Filing an EEO charge, complaint or lawsuit
- Serving as a witness for another person’s complaint or lawsuit
- Requesting accommodations for religious practices or disabilities
- Asking about salary information
- Refusing to follow orders when the orders result in discrimination
No matter how your employer feels about your actions to protect your rights, he or she cannot act out against you. If you believe that someone at your workplace violated EEO laws, you have a right to speak up.
Ways in which employers may retaliate
One of the most common ways for an employer to retaliate is by firing the employee who made the complaint. To prove that you faced termination because of retaliation, you must show that the employer treated you differently following the complaint. Employers may also refuse to offer you a promotion and may even demote you or reduce your work hours.
Some employers may go as far as to verbally reprimand or punish the employee for his or her actions.