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How can you recognize workplace retaliation?

Workplace retaliation is a serious problem. When people have a problem at work, they need to be able to tell their supervisors, the human resources department or other agencies without the risk of that coming back to hurt them. People should retain the right to make sure they're being treated fairly and can report harassment or other issues without losing their jobs.

In 2015, around 45 percent of charges that were investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) involved cases of retaliation. Some workers may have lost their jobs, while others faced additional hardships all because they spoke up for themselves.

What is retaliation, and how can you recognize it?

Retaliation is simple. It's any act taken by your employer against you for asserting your employee rights protected by discrimination laws. Although most people may think that retaliation can only happen after you make a move to report an action, the truth is that retaliation could even occur beforehand if your employer believes that you're going to do so. This form of retaliation is often used to make workers stay quiet out of fear of further issues at work.

Retaliation isn't always losing a job. Retaliation includes changing a person's work schedule to conflict with their parenting schedule, excluding someone from training for promotions or even transferring someone to a difficult job in hopes that he or she will quit.

If you're in a difficult position at work or have been terminated, your attorney can help. The right information can help you determine if you've been victimized by your employer.

Source: Minnesota Cities Magazine, "Workplace Retaliation: How to Recognize and Prevent It in Your City," Mary Jane Smetanka, accessed Jan. 31, 2018

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