5 Common Workplace Retaliation Tactics

5 Common Workplace Retaliation Tactics

People always say to listen to your gut. If your gut tells you that you are the victim of workplace retaliation, listen. Retaliation can take many forms so it may not always be clear to you if you are suffering from workplace retaliation. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, workplace retaliation is the most alleged complaint they receive.

That’s when you need to speak with an experienced California employment lawyer. With over 30 years of experience, Perkins Asbill has the skill and determination to help you hold your employer accountable if you face legitimate retaliation.

To help you understand retaliation, we’ve compiled a list below of the five most common tactics. If what you experience is not on this list, that doesn’t mean your employer is in the clear. Speak with a trusted legal advisor to find out for sure if you suffer from workplace retaliation.

1. Exclusion

If you find out office happenings through the grapevine, you may be experiencing workplace retaliation. When your manager or company purposely excludes you from routine meetings, correspondence, or informal information sharing, that may rise to the level of retaliation. 

Bosses commonly use exclusion to hurt an employee’s job performance. After all, if you don’t know what’s happening in the company or if you don’t receive the most up-to-date information about a project, you may not complete your work accurately. This could lead to a negative review, reprimand, or even termination.

2. Reassignment

A common tactic of workplace retaliation includes reassigning an employee to a new department or changing their job duties. This may occur when an employee makes a complaint against the company or their manager, who then transfers the employee to another department.

This change in department or in job duties does nothing to cure the issue you complained about. In fact, it can cause further problems for you as you have to adjust to a new workload and supervisor.

3. Salary or Hours Reduced

Managers who have control over your hours will routinely reduce those hours after you file a complaint. They know this is the best way to get back at you because it hurts your pocketbook. There are legitimate reasons to reduce salary but a company must reduce an employee’s salary correctly. If no one else in your department has to suffer reduced hours, you could be the victim of workplace retaliation. Similarly, forcing an employee to take a pay cut but still do the same amount of work could also represent clear retaliation tactics.

This may also come in the form of being passed over for a promotion. Maybe you applied for a promotion and it seemed like you were the favorite candidate. But then you filed a complaint and suddenly there’s a different, younger, less experienced, employee taking that promotion you earned. This is probably not a coincidence. Remember, listen to your gut.

4. Harassment

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing receives more sexual harassment complaints than any other type of workplace harassment. After filing a complaint, employees face bullying and harassment. This can come from both their manager as well as colleagues. Many supervisors will spread the word that you filed a complaint and try to get other employees on their side.

You may even have to deal with intimidation from your manager. They may threaten your job directly, causing you to worry about your tenure. If colleagues have rallied behind your manager, they may leave you threatening notes. All of this is in an effort to get you to drop your complaint and let your manager off the hook.

5. Termination

The most serious of all workplace retaliation tactics comes from termination. But this action may also make it much easier to connect the dots and show that your termination directly resulted from a complaint you filed. 

By no means does getting fired make for a slam dunk workplace retaliation lawsuit, but it does mean you need to seek legal counsel immediately. Termination affects not only your ability to pay your expenses and live your life, but it can also seriously affect your reputation and ability to get another job. That’s why you need to take action to clear your name.

Workplace Retaliation Hurts You

The common theme across all of the workplace retaliation tactics listed above, and all the others not listed, is that the employee making the complaint is the one who suffers most. Making a workplace complaint to HR is not a straightforward decision to make. But when you feel that you have been wronged or have suffered some form of discrimination, taking that step is the appropriate next step to try to rectify the problem. Whether it is a colleague or a manager, correcting and changing that type of behavior is good for everyone.

Too often, however, employees like you become double victims. First, you were the victim of sexual harassment, race discrimination, or some other type of workplace discrimination or abuse. Then, you file a complaint trying to take the right steps to change this behavior and make the workplace safer and more enjoyable for everyone. Unfortunately, that results in becoming a victim for a second time as you face retaliation for your HR complaint.

Understanding what to do next can be challenging. You may even want to just walk away. While that might be easy, it will give your manager exactly what they want by getting you out of the picture. It may also leave you in financial hardship if you cannot immediately find another job.

Speak with a California Employment Law Attorney Today

Perkins Asbill is here to help. You do not have to face this alone. No matter what type of workplace retaliation you have or are currently suffering from, you deserve to have your rights protected. Our experienced legal team stands ready to help you understand your legal options and take proactive steps to make your situation better.

Contact Perkins Asbill today to learn more about how we can help you protect your rights and improve your situation after suffering workplace retaliation.