Employees are sometimes frightened to speak up when things are amiss at work. When there are potentially illegal activities, the employees have every right to speak up. In some cases, these individuals will have a duty to speak up. It is imperative that you don’t let fear of retaliation stop you from reporting illegal actions at work.
When things like harassment or discrimination cloud the workplace, they need to be stopped. Employers who retaliate take away the safe environment at the workplace and indirectly encourage illegal behavior.
Requires an adverse action
Retaliation requires that the employer or a representative for the employer makes an adverse employment action after you file a report of something illegal going on. Adverse actions vary greatly, but some of the most common are termination of employment, reduction in hours, pay cut or moving the employee to a less desirable shift. If you are facing one of these types of actions, you need to make notes about what happened so that you can refer to these later.
Essentially, any negative action on behalf of the employer or employer’s agent isn’t allowed if the reason behind it is because of a factual complaint made by an employee. There is not law that provides for an employee to have protection if the employee makes a false or fraudulent complaint unless the complaint is made is good faith. This is why it is imperative that you only make complaints if they are accurate.
Proving retaliation is often difficult because of the nature of many businesses. Typically, if you haven’t had any issues at work, you might have an easier time proving retaliation. You could bring up the fact that you have all positive reviews and evaluations as one clue that the adverse employment action was due to the complaint you filed.
It might be best if you have someone help determine what factors prove that the adverse action was retaliatory. This could include creating a timeline of the complaint you made and the events that happened between then and the adverse action.
Employers sometimes use a host of excuses to try to cover up their actions. This can pose a challenge if you are making a claim of retaliation, but it doesn’t mean that the claim will be impossible.