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4 covert forms of workplace retaliation

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2023 | Workplace Retaliation

You have a right to report illegal behavior in the workplace, take necessary leave or ensure that you can perform your work in an environment free of discrimination or harassment. Unfortunately, some employers violate employees’ rights and punish them for engaging in protected activities.

What forms of retaliation should you be aware of?

Most people know that turning you down for a promotion or firing you after you take a protected action could be a form of retaliation. However, retaliation can come in many other forms, including:

  • Excluding you from meetings, emails or other critical information– One missed email or meeting invitation could be a mistake. If these issues are intentional and become a pattern, however, they can leave you without the information you need to do your job.
  • Excluding you from social activities– When you are left out of company-sponsored social activities or excluded from friendly conversation, that exclusion could be an intentional way to make the workplace uncomfortable for you.
  • Giving negative performance reviews – If your work has not changed but your performance reviews suddenly become negative, your supervisor may be retaliating against you. They could also use those reviews as the basis for future termination.
  • Changing your responsibilities or hours on the job – Sometimes, a person may find their responsibilities changing after they take protected action. Intentionally changing your schedule to conflict with your time with your family, reduce your hours, deny vacation requests, or move you to a less-desirable position could all be retaliation.

Because these forms of retaliation are subtle, you may be uncertain whether the changes you have experienced in the workplace still qualify as retaliation. Carefully documenting your experiences and seeking experienced guidance can help you identify covert forms of retaliation and hold your employer accountable.