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What a worker can do about workplace retaliation

When workers in California file a complaint related to sexual harassment or other workplace issues, they may find themselves the target of workplace retaliation. In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that the discrimination findings based on retaliation has been as high as 53% in the past decade.

The EEOC reminds employers that they can not demote, fire or harass individuals for filing discrimination complaints. Employees are also protected when they oppose incidents of discrimination or participate in ongoing proceedings. The federal agency states that one of the reasons for its commitment to preventing retaliation is that it discourages workers from cooperating with agents during an investigation.

Note that sometimes retaliation is subtle. In these instances, managers may need to personally evaluate themselves and practice self-restraint. Negative treatment of the employee may count as retaliation if certain conditions are met. Managers should avoid sharing details of the case proceedings and make every attempt not to interfere.

But, what about when the retaliation is overt and comes in the form of nasty emails? The National Public Radio recommends saving related emails. Workers should also document incidents. This does not mean taking out smartphones and recording the incident, but it does mean making a note of what happened, when and who was involved. If there is security footage in the office, consider asking security for the related footage, if allowed.

Roughly 40% of employees who keep working for a company after facing retaliation do so because they need the money. However, just as many employees stand their ground for altruistic reasons. In either of these cases, stock piling evidence just in case it is ever needed may help an employee to keep their job and peace of mind.

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