At work, it is pivotal for employees to have a clear understanding of their rights. Discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and other violations continue to occur too often, and victims should not hesitate to speak out and address mistreatment. Unfortunately, some worry about retaliation, which can take various forms. For example, an employer could retaliate against a worker who stood up for their rights by making their job harder, verbally abusing them, spreading rumors or threatening the employee.
It is critical to recognize that retaliating against an employee standing up for his or her rights through various protected activities is unlawful.
Examples of protected activities
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides an overview of protected activities that employers cannot retaliate against employees for participating in. For example, employer retaliation is illegal if it occurs due to a worker filing or participating in an EEO case, resisting advances that are sexual in nature, refusal to follow discriminatory orders or talking to a supervisor about discrimination and harassment.
Other protected activities include seeking disability or religious accommodations, inquiring about salary details to identify wage discrimination and answering questions during a harassment investigation.
Addressing retaliation over protected activities
If an employee experiences unlawful retaliation as a result of participating in a protected activity, they must stand firm and address any illegal mistreatment. Sadly, some victims do not recognize their legal rights, and some feel pressured to stay silent. Not only do victims of retaliation deserve justice, but taking action is crucial to prevent future employee rights violations.