According to the Harvard Business Review, only 15% of people who suffer workplace harassment make a formal charge. A primary reason that people hesitate to report bad behavior is a fear of retaliation by their employer or coworkers.
If you have faced discrimination or harassment at work but are afraid to make a complaint, here is what you need to know about workplace retaliation.
Are you protected from retaliation?
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects you against retaliatory acts for reporting discrimination or other illegal activity. If you file a report of wrongdoing, your employer may not do any of the following in return:
- Cut your wages or otherwise reduce your compensation
- Demote or relocate you
- Put you on a less desirable shift
- Terminate your position
- Provide a negative performance review
It is important to note that these actions are only retaliation if performed as a direct response to your claim of discrimination or illegal conduct.
What should you do if you suspect retaliation?
Retaliation can be difficult to prove, so if you believe that your employer is acting against you, you will want to begin documenting your suspicions right away. Take notes on the timing of retaliatory actions and document all conversations between you and your boss. You will need to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
There are limitations on the amount of time you have to file a report against your employer. You should act quickly to protect your rights.