Many employers with numerous workers have progressive discipline policies or at least a written discipline policy. Before they take any adverse actions against a worker, the company will address the problems affecting their employment, likely through the human resources department.
If you recently got written up for a minor issue or had a progressive discipline meeting because of your job performance, you likely feel nervous about your job security. If you have recently filed a report about discrimination or asked for disability accommodations, your write-up could be a warning sign of employer retaliation.
Most companies know better than to fire you outright
If you got fired four hours after accusing your supervisor of sexual harassment, you would know the exact motivation for your termination and so would the courts. Employers are generally smart enough to avoid such overt displays of retaliation, although some do very little to try to hide a wrongful termination.
Many companies will try to create a paper trail showing that there were performance or behavior issues to justify a termination. If your employer only started taking issue with your performance or professionalism after you requested disability accommodations, reported misconduct by a co-worker or pointed out that they should be paying overtime wages, their progressive discipline efforts may simply be an attempt to hide their intention to terminate you for asserting your employment rights.
Keep your own records if you suspect future retaliation
If you believe that your employer will continue to write you up and fire you, you don’t want to wait until they walk you out the door to take action. Documenting as much as you can, including the timeline that you believe shows a correlation between your complaint or request and the company’s disciplinary actions, can be a good starting point.
Keeping written records or personal documentation someplace where you won’t lose it if your employer summarily terminates you is important as well. Gathering the right documentation will put you in a position to fight back against a company that wrongfully terminates you for standing up for yourself or asking for support you have a right to under the law.