5 signs of workplace retaliation

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Employment Law

Have you experienced negative consequences after raising a workplace concern? That could be workplace retaliation.

Workplace retaliation can be subtle and hard to tell. It often takes the form of inappropriate jokes and snide remarks. Unfortunately, some even go as far as physical abuse, destruction of property or verbal threats, which can make you feel demotivated and belittled.

Sudden performance issues

Were you previously praised for your work but are now receiving negative performance reviews or experiencing increased scrutiny? A sudden shift in performance evaluations can be a red flag, especially after raising a complaint about your superiors or the company.

Increased workload and unreasonable deadlines

Excessive workload and unrealistic deadlines can be overwhelming and can be a strategy to push you out. They may also give you additional responsibilities, instead of spreading out the task to other teammates. Being overworked can lead to exhaustion and may affect your performance.

Social exclusion or isolation

Do you feel deliberately excluded from meetings, projects or social interactions with colleagues? A noticeable shift in treatment by co-workers or supervisors can signify retaliation.

Demotion or pay reduction

A demotion to a less desirable position, an abrupt transfer to a less convenient location or a sudden pay cut without reason can be doubtful. This may usually happen after reports about suspected unlawful activities by the company or any other injustices in your office.

Termination without proper cause

Termination after raising a workplace issue can be a serious sign of retaliation. It is unlawful for your employer to terminate you as retribution. If this happens, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and have them look at your case.

Reasons for retaliation

There are plenty of reasons an employer or a co-worker is retaliating. It could be because you filed a complaint against the company’s practices (that could eventually lead to an investigation). A supervisor or an executive may retaliate because you refused to allow orders that would result in discrimination or rejected a manager’s sexual advances.

Taking legal action

If you experience any of these signs, record dates, details and any witnesses to the behavior. You may speak with a legal professional to help you understand your rights and strategize on the potential next steps. Recognizing these signs and taking action can protect you from retaliation and ensure a safe and fair work environment.