Going into work comes with many responsibilities. You know that you need to perform the duties that are expected of you in relation to the position you hold, but you may also feel the responsibility to report wrongdoing that you experience or witness in the workplace. While some people appreciate complaints because they bring attention to the right people, not all employers are pleased with such attention.
In some cases, workers could face retaliation on the job for filing a complaint or for participating in an investigation into wrongdoing. What you need to understand is that workplace retaliation is illegal, and you have rights.
What constitutes retaliation?
Retaliation is not simply facing unfair treatment on the job. In some cases, an employer may treat you less fairly than other workers, but that treatment may not be illegal. However, if you filed a complaint or participated in another protected activity and suddenly began facing mistreatment, it could constitute retaliation.
Retaliation can come in various forms. Your supervisors, managers or other workers could retaliate against you in subtle or obvious ways. Some subtle forms of retaliation could include giving you fewer work hours or scheduling you for unfavorable shifts. You could also begin receiving unfair work performance reviews even though your performance had been stellar in the past. In more obvious fashion, retaliation could come from your employer firing you altogether.
Though you have legal rights to fight back against retaliation, it is not always easy to prove. For instance, your employer could claim that you received fewer hours or scheduled you for an unfavorable shift simply due to staffing issues. You will need to document the acts that you believe are retaliatory and include when they occurred. If the mistreatment started soon after you filed a complaint, it could be evidence that the actions are retaliation.
Your case could warrant a legal claim against your employer. Understandably, you may feel anxious about taking such a major step, but you do not have to do it alone. You can enlist the help of a California employment law attorney who understands retaliation and how to fight against it. Standing up for your rights can be challenging, but in some cases, it is necessary to ensure that you and others do not face illegal treatment.