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Most Americans are aware of the laws that protect them from discrimination in the workplace. However, fewer people are aware that they have similar protection against workplace retaliation. Being aware of your legal rights in the workplace will help you make sure that you are being treated fairly.

What Is Workplace Retaliation?

Suppose that Joe, an African-American who has been employed by a company for five years, is routinely passed up for promotions despite having exemplary performance reviews. Other workers who are white but have less seniority have received promotions. Joe launches a complaint through his employer’s human resources department. In response, company management fires him, thereby retaliating against Joe for participating in the legally protected activity of submitting a complaint of discrimination.

Federal Law’s Stance

U.S. law protects all good-faith claims of discrimination. That is, any employee who makes a good-faith claim of discrimination to their employer or an independent entity, like the EEOC, is protected by the law even if it is ultimately concluded that the discrimination claim was unfounded. Workplace retaliation is also prohibited when it is aimed at employees who are lawfully participating in an EEOC investigation.

How Do You Recognize Workplace Retaliation?

Workplace retaliation is not always obvious. However, if an individual lodges a complaint and then a negative employment action ensues soon after, there is a good probability that workplace retaliation is taking place. Not all instances of workplace retaliation are as overt as being fired or demoted. Sometimes it is a matter of being excluded from projects or receiving an unwarranted poor performance review.

What Can You Do?

Schedule a meeting with your supervisor or the pertinent human resources personnel. Ask them specific questions about the alterations to your employment status. If legitimate reasons for the changes exist, they should be enumerated. If not, then you can request to have the changes reversed. It may be necessary to launch an EEOC complaint if your concerns are not addressed.

If you are concerned about workplace discrimination or retaliation taking place at your place of employment, it can be helpful to get in touch with an employment lawyer. Contact Daniel C. Miller today in the Lee’s Summit and Kansas City areas.