Workers across the United States have protection from job-related consequences when they assert their basic rights. You have a right to receive a fair wage for the time that you work and to do your job in a safe and harassment-free environment.
Protecting yourself from harassment often requires making a report to management or human resources when someone mistreats you at work. Employers should be proactive about responding to reports of harassment on the job, and they should also actively avoid retaliating against the worker who reports the misconduct.
Unfortunately, some businesses will punish those who don’t tolerate unwanted advances or offensive jokes. Obviously, firing you would be an unfair form of retaliation, but companies are often more subtle about punishing those who speak up. What other forms of retaliation may you face in the workplace?
A transfer, pay reduction or demotion
If there is a conflict between you and your direct supervisor, the company may want to split the two of you up to prevent future issues. However, it would be very unfair for them to transfer you to a third-shift position or a different facility when you are not the one who misbehaved on the job. Unless you request such a transfer, the company seeking to remove you from the situation instead of the perpetrator could be a form of retaliation.
An increasingly hostile work environment
You should be able to report misconduct and request an investigation without facing mistreatment from your coworkers and supervisors. Especially if the person who harassed you is a member of upper management or popular at the company, you may find that other people at the business treat you differently after you speak up about the harassment.
The company should seek to protect you from that kind of treatment. Minimizing how much information reaches the rest of the team is one way to protect you. Preventing those with close relationships with the person you accuse from having authority over your career is another important move.
If your work environment becomes significantly more hostile after you report harassment or if you face other negative changes to your job arrangements, you may have experienced retaliation. Recognizing and fighting back against workplace retaliation can help those who just want to work in a safe and respectful environment.