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What are the most common forms of workplace retaliation?

As an employee, you hope to work in a healthy environment at all times. Unfortunately, there are times when this isn't the case, such as if a supervisor or company owner is retaliating against you for some reason.

For example, if you report the company to a federal agency for violating the law, it could result in retaliation by your employer.

Many people assume that workplace retaliation only comes in the form of termination.

While this is a common form of workplace retaliation, there are others that could come into play. Here are three that you need to be aware of:

  • Exclusion: For example, your employer may begin to exclude you from work activity and decisions as a result of your filing a complaint. What starts out as exclusion can soon turn into other acts of retaliation, such as a demotion in job responsibilities.
  • Pay cut: An employer who wants to retaliate against an employee may cut their pay, as they know that the financial impact will hurt them. There are times when a pay cut is 100 percent legal, such as if the company has come upon hard times. However, a pay cut as a result of retaliation is against the law.
  • Verbal abuse: Not only is verbal abuse a form of workplace retaliation, but it can also result in other issues, such as bullying and even physical violence. It's not always easy to speak up against verbal abuse in the workplace, especially if several people are targeting you, but it's a must if you want to protect yourself.

What should you do?

Rather than hope that the retaliation stops in the near future, it's time to take action against your employer.

The first thing you should do is report the behavior to your human resources department. Keep detailed records of how you filed the report, whom you spoke with and what they're doing to investigate your concerns.

If that doesn't work, contact the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to learn more about your legal rights in Missouri for taking action and potentially receiving compensation.

If you don't do anything to stop workplace retaliation, it's likely to persist. And that's not the kind of environment you want to work in.

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