What Types of Workplace Retaliation are Illegal?

Know Your Rights: You cannot be punished for reporting
workplace discrimination or harassment

Both federal and state “Human Rights Laws” protect those who complain about discriminatory treatment from retaliation. Legally prohibited retaliation occurs when an employee experiences backlash in the workplace because she previously complained about discriminatory treatment, such as sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, or for being paid less than a male co-worker performing comparable work. Once an employee notifies her company that she’s being treated differently because of her sex (or because of race, age, disability, sexual orientation, or another legally-protected classification), a company must investigate and rectify the discriminatory treatment, and may not punish the employee for complaining of the illegal workplace inequality.

If you get fired or demoted or if you are otherwise treated even worse by your employer after you push back against discriminatory treatment at work, you have been retaliated against, and that’s illegal. These same laws also protect employees who testify, assist or participate in an investigation of illegal activity, so even if you are just a witness to discriminatory treatment at work, you are protected by these same civil rights laws just the same as if you were the victim.

If you’re experiencing retaliation in the workplace, learn what you can do it about it before it gets worse. Contact us to find out how we may to assist and support you through this employment challenge, and don’t quit!

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Deborah O’Rell, Client Advocate

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