How do I prove workplace retaliation?

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Employment Law

As an employee, the law allows you to participate in protected activities like reporting a violation of the law, protesting against discriminatory behaviors or whistleblowing. If your employer picks on you following your participation in any of these activities, you may bring a workplace retaliation claim against them. 

Like with any legal matter, it’s important that you understand your rights if you are being retaliated against. And for this to happen, you need to know exactly what retaliation is and the steps to take in its wake. 

So, what is workplace retaliation?

Basically, workplace retaliation happens when an employer takes an adverse action against an employee for participating in a protected activity. This is illegal under state and federal laws. 

Depending on the circumstances, workplace retaliation can take multiple forms such as a demotion, a transfer to a less favorable work environment, a pay cut, an exclusion from promotions and other work-related privileges like training opportunities and a reduction in work hours. Sometimes, retaliation can come in the form of termination without cause. 

Proving retaliation at work

Proving workplace retaliation can be quite tricky, especially if the retaliatory actions are subtle. Here is what you need to do to build a strong case against your employer:

Put your evidence together – the first step in proving workplace retaliation involves gathering evidence. This can include memos, emails and text messages as well as witness statements that corroborate your story. Strong evidence will help you establish a pattern of behavior that amounts to workplace retaliation. 

Clearly articulate your damages – here, you want to show that your employer’s adverse actions were retaliatory and that they resulted in specific damages. These can be either financial, emotional or both. For instance, you can argue that a termination without cause resulted in loss of income. 

Retaliation at work is not a pleasant experience. If you are a victim of retaliation, it is in your best interest that you act quickly to address the matter.