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Illegal retaliation might not be so easy to identify

In the U.S., employees generally have a right to be free from discrimination because of their sex, national origin, religion, race and age. Still, workplace discrimination remains alarmingly common across the country. In fact, according to reporting from Nasdaq, 55% of workers claim to have experienced it.

Victims of illegal workplace discrimination have a right to complain about their mistreatment. They even may be able to file official discrimination charges and employers cannot retaliate against workers who do so. Unfortunately, illegal retaliation is not always so easy to identify.

Retaliation can be subtle

The most clear-cut cases of retaliation involve termination of employment following a discrimination complaint. Naturally, though, many employers recognize the illegality of retaliating against workers by firing them. Therefore, employers may engage in subtler forms of retaliation.

The following may be impermissible retaliation:

  • Denying a promotion or raise
  • Changing job duties or work schedule to reduce hours
  • Curtailing training opportunities
  • Excluding workers from work-related activities

Subtle retaliation is still off-limits

Even though subtle retaliation may be more difficult to recognize, it is still off-limits for employers. If you suspect your employer is punishing you for exercising your legal rights, you might have to act quickly to protect both your current job and your future career. Indeed, it is advisable to gather as much evidence as possible about your employer’s retaliatory actions.

Ultimately, rather than standing idly by while your employer takes steps to retaliate against you, you may wish to explore all your legal options.


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