It is common knowledge that there are laws to protect employees against harassment or discrimination at the workplace. However, many are unaware that similar laws exist to protect victims against retaliation should they report such incidents or participate in investigations about them.
It is important to note that retaliation is not limited to dismissal from your job. It can take other forms, which is why you should be on the lookout and protect your legal rights.
Forms of retaliation
Generally, retaliation is any adverse action taken against an employee after they have filed a complaint. It may include:
- Being excluded from workplace events such as group lunches or meetings. While it is a common form of retaliation, it may not be easy to prove. Still, if such exclusion from meetings or communication negatively affects your job, it could amount to retaliation.
- Verbal abuse from your colleagues or supervisor based on your harassment complaints against someone in the company may be considered a form of retaliation.
- Post-employment retaliation may arise when you leave your current job and your supervisors speak ill of you to your potential employer because of a complaint you made.
- Demotions or denial of benefits is another form of retaliation whereby your employer ‘lets you go’ without valid reasons and withholds your benefits. Such job frustrations may also entail a lack of progress based on merit in your workplace while your peers with similar qualifications and roles are getting promoted.
There may be other forms of retaliation, some subtle, others more direct. All are illegal, and it is necessary to be aware of the course of action to take against your employer. If anything, whistleblowing or reporting harassment at your workplace is highly encouraged, and you should not be punished for it.