Here’s a situation that may have happened to you in the workplace.
Let’s say you found yourself in a dangerous situation wherein a boss or coworker was harassing you sexually. Keep in mind that sexual harassment can take on many forms — from touches on the arm when you don’t want them to overt sexual advances.
So, you filed a formal written complaint after taking a look at your employment handbook. As the handbook suggested, you gathered your evidence, and you even followed up regarding the status of any investigation.
But then, you noticed something. All of the sudden, things started to change — and not for the better.
Perhaps you noticed that your work hours were reduced, or maybe you started to get the “cold shoulder” from your boss or other coworkers. Overall, the quality of your life at work worsened, and the change took effect — very noticeably — right after you filed the formal written complaint.
So, what is this all about?
What to Do in the Event of “Retaliation” After Filing a Complaint
At this stage in the story, you have done everything right. You noticed something was wrong with how you were being treated at work, you gathered evidence, and you filed a formal complaint with your supervisor or the human resources department.
Unfortunately, what you’d be experiencing in this situation would be a form of retaliation or discrimination.
Retaliation can be defined as a situation wherein an employee takes part in a protected activity like filing a formal written complaint and the employer reacts negatively with adverse “employment action” against the employee.
For example, the employer might reduce the employee’s hours, reprimand them for something inconsequential, belittle them in front of other employees, or refuse to talk to them at all. They might even reduce the wages of the employee. Sometimes, the employer will move the employee’s position so that they are under a different supervisor or change their job duties entirely.
As a result of these changes, you are left feeling like your employer is really just trying to kick you out.
So, what do you do?
Responding to “Retaliation” at Work
Employers do not have the right to retaliate against employees who file formal complaints about something going on in the workplace. Even if the outcome of the investigation reveals that nothing was amiss, employers cannot take adverse action against the employee in question.
If you are feeling like you’re experiencing retaliation in any form at work, you have the right to take action. In fact, you might actually have a claim against your employer. It’s worth finding out.
Contact Knoll Law Group Today to Learn About Your Legal Options
Knoll Law Group includes a team of experienced and trusted employment law lawyers. Since 1989, we’ve represented employees who’ve been harmed or wronged in the workplace. We want to help you.
It is so vitally important for you to monitor your work conditions after you file a formal written complaint. If you think anything is amiss with the way you’re being treated, please give our office a call for a free legal consultation.