When workers take steps to defend their protected rights in the workplace, some employers respond poorly. In 2022, the most common charge filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was retaliation, which occurs when an employer behaves vindictively toward an employee. If your employer is retaliating against you after reporting discrimination, a gender discrimination attorney in Jackson County, Missouri, can help you seek justice.
My Employer Is Retaliating Against Me for Reporting Discrimination: What Should I Do?
When you report an employer for illegal discrimination in the workplace, you are doing so to improve your work environment. Unfortunately, sometimes unethical employers respond to an employee reporting discrimination with retaliation. If you recently reported your employer for discrimination and have received a poor performance review, your hours cut, or even been fired, there is a chance that you are experiencing retaliation.
You will need to take specific steps to resolve your situation and seek compensation for any damages you suffered due to the retaliation. Working with a Jackson County, Missouri, attorney prevents you from becoming a victim of an unethical employer and provides you with the best chance of resolving your situation favorably if your employer is unwilling to right the wrongs they have committed against you.
Seeking Justice for Workplace Retaliation
Not all retaliatory actions are blatant and easy to identify, and an employer may not threaten your job directly. They may try to make the workplace unpleasant for you in subtle ways so that you seek other employment by doing things that aren’t illegal but create a hostile environment. For example, your project manager may suddenly begin micromanaging all your work, or you may be excluded from meetings you were a part of before your complaint.
If your employer is taking actions that seem questionable, check your employee handbook to ensure you are familiar with any internal steps you can take to address the problem. Should you believe you are experiencing discrimination, you’ll need to take the following steps:
Talk to Human Resources or a Supervisor
Once you suspect that your employer is retaliating against you, you’ll want to talk to your company’s human resource representative or supervisor. This conversation allows you to clarify whether the actions you believe to be retaliatory have a rational explanation. For example, if you’re being moved to a different department when you had previously expressed interest in that area or if your schedule was changed due to another employee’s illness or leave.
If your employer cannot give an appropriate explanation for the action you believe to be retaliatory, let them know that you perceive the action as retaliation. Your employer will likely claim that any changes to the work environment since you reported discrimination weren’t done out of malice. You will want to clarify that the adverse actions only began after you filed the report and then request that the actions stop.
File a Charge With the EEOC
Often an employer is unwilling to admit fault or correct the adverse consequences you’ve experienced since the initial report. If that occurs, you must take your concerns to your state’s fair employment agency or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You can file a charge in the following ways:
The EEOC has an online public portal that you can use to complete your filing. After answering a few questions to ensure that the EEOC is the appropriate government agency to address your issue, you can file your charge. To expedite the process, you’ll want to ensure you have the dates the retaliation began, your employer’s contact information, details about the retaliation, and any other information that supports your charge.
At an EEOC Office
In addition to accepting walk-in appointments, EEOC offices allow you to conveniently schedule an appointment online to prevent a wait. At this appointment, an EEOC staff member will evaluate your situation and help you determine if filing a case is the best course of action for your circumstances.
Bring any information or proof you have that clarifies your case’s specifics. This could include the contact information of individuals who witnessed the retaliation, a termination or warning notice, or a copy of your previous and current schedule to highlight the differences.
Over the Telephone
While you cannot file a charge over the telephone, calling the EEOC allows you to ask any questions about the filing process. A representative will discuss your situation and help you determine if the laws enforced by the EEOC apply to your circumstances. If your situation meets the parameters for filing a report, the representative can also inform you of what steps to take next and what you can expect during the process.
Through the Mail
If you prefer to file the charge by mail, you can send a detailed letter to the EEOC requesting that they investigate your situation. The letter must contain your name, address, email, and telephone number, as well as your employer’s name, address, telephone number, and email.
You’ll need to write a short description of the retaliatory actions taken against you, the date those actions occurred, and the reason you are being retaliated against. Finally, you will have to sign your letter. Don’t overlook this essential step because the EEOC cannot look into the situation unless your signature is on the letter.
Contact a Gender Discrimination Attorney
You can hire a gender discrimination lawyer at any time during the process, but choosing to contact one as soon as you realize your employer is retaliating against you is wise. Your lawyer can advise you on collecting evidence proving the retaliation your employer is taking against you.
If you choose to file a charge via mail, they can help you craft a professional letter detailing the unfair actions taken against you. Alternatively, they can accompany you to your appointment at your local EEOC office if you decide to file a charge in person.
Don’t Accept Retaliation in the Workplace
As soon as you suspect you may be the victim of retaliation in the workplace, you’ll want to contact a skilled discrimination lawyer. Your lawyer will help you determine whether your experiences are considered retaliation and how strong of a case you have against your employer. They can also guide you through filing a charge with the EEOC.
Identifying Workplace Retaliation
Sometimes workplace retaliation is easy to spot. Other times, you may question whether the acts of your superior or coworkers are truly retaliation or if their actions are reasonable. For an employer’s action to be considered retaliation, there must be an adverse effect of the action on the employee. If your employer changes your schedule or transfers you to a different team, and it doesn’t negatively impact you, your employer’s actions will not qualify as retaliation.
Actions that could be considered retaliation under certain circumstances include:
- Being passed over for a promotion
- A salary reduction or reduced hours
- Extreme micromanagement
- Excessive negative performance reviews
- Unwarranted termination
Trust a Jackson County, Missouri, Gender Discrimination Attorney
Contact a Jackson County, Missouri, gender discrimination attorney if you believe you may be the victim of employer retaliation. Employment law is complicated, and proving your employer is retaliating against you because you reported their discrimination is challenging without a lawyer representing you.
You are legally entitled to fair treatment in the workplace. Don’t accept retaliation from an unscrupulous employer because you brought attention to their illegal actions. Instead, contact Holman Schiavone, LLC, and let our experienced employment lawyers protect your rights and seek justice on your behalf.