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What is Workplace Retaliation?

Posted by Kathy Harrington-Sullivan | Dec 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

Do you know what actions can be categorized as illegal workplace retaliation? What exactly is illegal workplace retaliation? When is an adverse action not considered illegal retaliation? These are important questions to ask yourself as an employee in the modern workplace. In the simplest terms, illegal workplace retaliation is revenge related to a protected issue and it can be devastating.

The trick is figuring out just what qualifies as illegal workplace retaliation and what doesn't. For instance, consider a female employee that reports to the Human Resources Administrator that a male co-worker frequently asks her out on dates even though she has declined and asked him to stop asking. Consider also that the male co-worker who continues to ask the woman to go out with him is very good at his job. If, after reporting the untenable situation, the woman is transferred to a shift that is less desirable, the situation may be illegal workplace retaliation.

The female employee contacted Human Resources to make a sexual harassment complaint. She was then punished for the complaint by losing the shift she usually worked and being assigned to a different, less desirable, shift. Company representatives attempting to defend the action might argue that the employee never actually stated that she was experiencing sexual harassment, or even that she could not prove her allegations.

Employees in this situation do not have to specifically describe their problem as sexual harassment in order to enjoy the protection of the law. Simply by advising her superiors at the company of unwanted sexual behavior at work was sufficient to constitute a complaint of sexual harassment. The resulting transfer in this scenario could be illegal retaliation against the victim, especially if her pay is affected in any way.

If you are unsure whether or not adverse action taken against you by your employer would be defined as workplace retaliation, please get in touch with one of the experienced employment law attorneys at Atlanta's Barrett & Farahany to discuss your case.

About the Author

Kathy Harrington-Sullivan

Kathy Harrington Sullivan is a Partner at Barrett & Farahany who helps potential clients understand the law, clarify their rights, and determine which steps they can take to protect themselves and their jobs.


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When you reach out to us, you will receive a complimentary consultation with one of our skilled Atlanta employment attorneys. During our initial consultation with you, we can help you to better understand your rights and will work with you to determine what course of action is in your best interest. We take great pride in providing assistance based on years of experience negotiating and litigating employment matters to protect employee interests. If you find yourself in need of dedicated legal representation, we are prepared to advocate on your behalf – our goal is always to protect employee victims of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.