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Retaliatory actions aren't ever acceptable; know your rights!

Many of our readers have often read stories about employees who were retaliated against after making complaints about sexual harassment. Those many posts might have some of our California readers wondering what constitutes retaliation. According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there are several actions by an employer that constitute retaliation.

It is important to note that retaliation might be the result of several actions, including making complaints about sexual harassment. It can be because of a complaint about discrimination, opposing discriminatory actions or taking part in a proceeding regarding discrimination. It doesn't matter what the discrimination is based on. It can be discrimination because of gender, color, race, age, national origin or disability.

Firing, demoting, harassing, coercing, intimidating, threatening, harassing or taking adverse actions against a person who files a complaint or participates in those complaint proceedings is against the law. That means that employers can't deny the person a promotion, terminate his or her employment or try to get back at him or her using a variety of other methods.

People who think they are being retaliated against should understand that adverse actions backed up by things like a poor work performance history or similar factors wouldn't necessarily be considered retaliation. With that in mind, it is important for employees to continue to do a good job at work even if they feel like they are the target of adverse actions.

When you start to think about it, determining what is retaliation might take some research and some scrutinizing. Working with someone familiar with retaliation claims might make the process a little easier.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Facts About Retaliation" Dec. 29, 2014

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