A familiar example of unlawful retaliation would be when an employer fires someone for pointing out equal employment opportunity rights violations. However, there are many other ways that employers might punish people illegally.
This article will look at some examples of when employers might cross the line. However, it does not provide a complete list of possible cases.
Taking legal action
When employers face legal action for potential EEO rights violations, it is possible they could discover the identities of the people involved. This could lead to mishandling of the situation. If they take adverse action because someone became a witness or filed a complaint, for example, that could be unlawful retaliation.
If someone comes forward to complain about a rights violation, such as harassment, employers may not respond with termination or discipline. Similarly, it is a protected activity to protect another from sexual advances.
Investigating potential violations
Employees could have protection when investigating potential rights violations. This might include gathering salary information for the purpose of uncovering discrimination, for example.
Some employers might view this behavior as disruptive and act illegally. It is never disruptive to have an equitable and fair workplace that follows applicable employment laws.
Retaliation could happen even at the leadership and management levels. When somebody refuses to follow directions or enforce policies that would result in discrimination, they are engaging in a potentially protected activity. Retaliation for such an activity could form the basis of a lawsuit.
Retaliation does not have to happen during the term of employment. It could also occur during the job application process. Simply put, employers may not punish employees or job applicants for asserting their EEO rights.