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What are Some Examples of Retaliation in the Workplace?

What are Some Examples of Retaliation in the Workplace?

Retaliation in the workplace is if you make a complaint of discrimination, your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you in any way. Some examples of retaliation would be a termination or failure to hire, a demotion, a decrease in pay, a decrease in the number of hours that you’ve worked. The cause will be obvious things such as a reprimand, a warning or lowering of your evaluation scores. At Phillips & Associates, we have the knowledge and experience to handle your retaliation claim. Do you feel that you’ve been a victim of retaliation? Contact Phillips & Associates today.

New York City Lawyers Representing Victims of Workplace Misconduct

Retaliation in the workplace occurs when an employee complains about discrimination or harassment, and in response, the employer takes an adverse employment action against them. Sometimes it may be challenging to show that the adverse employment action was taken specifically because you complained about discrimination. If you feel that what happened to you in the workplace is similar to the examples of retaliation described below, you should contact the New York City retaliation lawyers at Phillips & Associates to talk about your possible claim.

What Are Some Examples of Retaliation in the Workplace?

Retaliation takes many forms. In all cases, however, it occurs because an employee engaged in a protected activity, such as complaining about discrimination or filing a harassment lawsuit. When you engage in a protected activity, your employer is not permitted to retaliate against you or try to punish you in any way.

One example of retaliation is termination. For example, if you complain to HR that your coworkers are harassing you by making offensive remarks because you are black, and as a result, you are assigned to a different and less favorable team and later fired, this may be retaliation under Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law. Similarly, if you ask your boss to stop sexually harassing you, and he then fires you, this is also retaliation.

Another example of retaliation might occur in the context of a failure to hire. Suppose, for example, that you go through several rounds of phone interviews, and the employer seems impressed, but you do a final in-person interview, and the employer, upon seeing that you are pregnant, remarks that the job is best suited for someone who is ready to go full speed. You do not hear back from the employer for weeks, and you file a claim of pregnancy discrimination with the EEOC, but it turns out that the employer had simply delayed the decision. Since you filed the claim of discrimination, the employer decides not to hire you. This might be retaliation, although it would be tricky to establish without the help of an experienced attorney.

Yet another example of retaliation is if you are a manager who wears a hijab to the restaurant where you work, and your supervisor asks you not to do so because it is "scaring off" customers. You complain to HR that you believe that this is religious discrimination. Shortly afterward, you are demoted to a position in the kitchen. The choice to demote you may be retaliation.

Another example of retaliation would be if you take medical leave to care for a child whom you adopted. You are told that your job will be held for you because the employer is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act. However, when you come back, you face a significant decrease in the pay and the number of hours that you can work because the employer wants someone more “reliable.” This may be considered retaliation.

It may be difficult to prove retaliation. Generally, it is a good idea to:

  • Contemporaneously document what happened in the first incident of discrimination or harassment that you report to management. Include the date and time so that a timeline can be established showing how much time passed between your protected activity and the employer's act that you believe is retaliatory.
  • Contemporaneously document the action or actions that you believe were taken as reprisals for engaging in the protected activity, including the dates and times that any actions happened, as well as what was said.
  • Follow the procedure that the employer cites in an employment handbook as the internal grievance procedure to complain about discrimination or harassment. You can consult an attorney before taking this step, but you should do it before you file a charge with the EEOC or a lawsuit.
Consult Our Retaliation Attorneys in New York City

The amount of time that passes between your protected activity and any adverse actions taken against you may affect your ability to prove your claim under federal, state, and local laws. Certain laws, like Title VII, require you to file a charge with the EEOC before bringing suit, which makes it especially important to consult a New York City attorney right away. If you have been hurt due to retaliation in the workplace, you should contact us online or call us at (212) 248-7431 to set up a free appointment with a discrimination or harassment lawyer. We battle employment discrimination in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, as well as Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and New Jersey.

45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107

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