Employers have a responsibility to treat their employees fairly and avoid retaliating against an employee who exercises their rights or files complaints with the human resources department. When an employer responds to an employee defending one or several of their rights with punishment of some kind, the employee may have grounds for an employer retaliation suit.
In many ways, the laws that govern how we do business in the United States favor employers and give them broad powers to operate as they see fit. This, among other reasons, is why it is so important for employees to stand firm when an employer oversteps its bounds.
If you recently experienced workplace retaliation, it is important to understand that your response to this situation may impact many other employees’ willingness to defend their rights as well. By bearing the weight of defending your rights in the workplace, you may help make the workplace a more just, fair environment for all workers, not only yourself.
What if the substance of your initial complaint does not hold up?
A common misconception surrounding workplace retaliation implies that employees can only justify a retaliation claim if the complaint that brought on the retaliation is also airtight. This is not the case in many instances.
Employers generally have a responsibility to investigate complaints impartially and may not retaliate against someone who files a complaint. If you filed a complaint or raised concerns about your rights in the workplace and experienced retaliation, it is important to understand that employers must typically treat each complaint fairly and seriously. If your complaint does not hold up to scrutiny, this is not a free pass for an employer to mistreat you or punish you.
Document your experiences and build a strong case
Filing a complaint in the workplace is a serious matter, so it is always wise to build a strong collection of documentation before you take the matter to someone else in your workplace. The more documentation you can present to back up your claims, the more credibility you lend to your version of events.
If your employer or a particular individual within your workplace chooses to retaliate, you may need to use stronger legal tools to protect yourself. Without a sturdy legal strategy, you may miss important opportunities to protect your job, your income and your reputation.
Be sure to use high-quality legal resources and guidance as you need them to defend the rights of workers in the workplace and to keep your rights secure as you navigate this difficult season of your professional life.