Conflicts in the workplace are a common part of any job, particularly if you work in an office environment. However, employers hold a great responsibility to navigate conflicts fairly and avoid punishing employees who raise concerns about actions or policies they find offensive or violate their rights.
Employees have rights that deserve protection, and the freedom to raise concerns about harassment and discrimination in the workplace without fear of retaliation is one of them. If an employer responds improperly to an employee’s complaint and retaliates, the employer may find themselves facing serious legal consequences.
If you suspect that you are a victim of workplace retaliation, you may have several legal tools to protect your rights. Building a sturdy legal strategy helps clarify your complaint and the violations that you experienced, while keeping your rights in New Jersey secure along the way.
What is employer retaliation?
In a business context, retaliation involves punishing an employee for taking some action or filing a complaint about harassment or discrimination. No employer wants to deal with the time-consuming, often expensive process of resolving discrimination or harassment claims, and some employers go as far as to punish those who file these complaints.
Retaliation may include:
- Firing or suspension
- Reassignment to less desirable work
- Unfair performance evaluations
- Decreasing pay
- Internal discipline
While these are not the only forms of retaliation, they are the most common. It is important to note that protection from retaliation is not limited to the individual who files a complaint. These protections extend to any employees who contribute to an investigation surrounding a complaint. If you interviewed with your human resources department about someone else’s complaint, then you also should enjoy protection from retaliation.
Does the validity of a complaint matter?
One aspect of retaliation protections that many employees do not realize is that a complaint does not have to be accurate to qualify. If, for instance, an employee files a complaint based on a misunderstanding that is ultimately groundless, an employer may still suffer legal consequences if they retaliate against that employee or anyone else who contributes to an investigation of the complaint.
Protecting your rights begins with taking the time to build your legal strategy and understand the tools you have available. As you build your legal strategy, it is wise to use all the resources and guidance you need to strengthen your case and keep your rights secure.