Employees who face harassment or discrimination or who witness it have specific rights. One of those protections state and federal laws afford workers is the freedom to speak up about their employer’s illicit behaviors to try to put an end to it without fear of repercussions for doing so.
Some workers are hesitant to speak up because they’re concerned about what will happen if they do. They may worry that they are going to face retaliation for doing so. Fortunately, existing laws protect workers against retaliation. These laws encourage employees to speak up against illegal activities at work while discouraging employers from punishing their workers for making factual reports.
How do employers retaliate against employees?
Ways in which employers retaliate against employees vary but often include actions such as:
- Terminating the employee
- Demoting or cutting a worker’s pay
- Creating a toxic or otherwise hostile work environment
- Spreading false rumors about a worker
- Increasing the scrutiny that the employee faces
- Making a worker’s job duties or shifts more challenging
Employees should know that they don’t have absolute protection from every type of adverse employment action. They only have protection if their employer’s actions are directly related to their protected status or activity, such as reporting harassment or discrimination.
You don’t have to tolerate workplace retaliation
Workers who are dealing with discrimination, harassment or retaliation have legal rights. Learning what those rights are may give you better insight into how to best exercise them.
An attorney who’s familiar with both Ohio and federal employment laws can advise you whether you might have a valid claim and let you know of any statute of limitations that may apply in your case.