Most people understand that the law protects them from all forms of workplace harassment and discrimination. This means that your employer cannot punish you for filing a complaint if you are harassed at work. It also means that you cannot be reprimanded for participating in a protected activity like an industrial action. But what happens if your employer fires you for reporting discrimination at work?
Workplace retaliation is not uncommon. If you believe your employer is engaging in retaliatory behaviors, you deserve justice.
What exactly is workplace retaliation?
Workplace retaliation happens when an employer punishes an employee for engaging in an activity that is protected by law. While retaliation at work can take multiple forms, the bottom line is that it occurs when the employee in question engages in a protected activity like opposing discrimination or cooperating with an internal or external investigator.
Some of the employer actions that can amount to retaliation include:
- Firing or demoting an employer for whistleblowing
- Unjustifiably low appraisal feedback
- Transfer to a less favorable workstation or position
- Salary and benefits reduction
What can you do if you suspect workplace retaliation?
If you suspect workplace retaliation, start off by talking to your supervisor or the HR department about your concerns. Ask specific questions like, “Why am I being transferred to another location or department?” Sometimes, your employer’s actions might be within the law.
If the explanation is not satisfactory, however, or if the employer isn’t willing or ready to address your concerns, then you may need to take your case to the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC).
Protecting your rights
Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state. However, your employer cannot dismiss or retaliate against you. Learning more about Pennsylvania employment laws can help you safeguard your rights and interests if you believe your employer is retaliating against you.