The importance of guarding against retaliation cannot be overstated. Forty-six percent of the persons, who file harassment claims, also file for retaliation. It is a separate lawsuit, and awards can be made for retaliation, even though the harassment can not be proved. Not only the complainant, but EVERYONE who was involved in the investigation must be protected against retaliation. Beginning in 2016, family members of the person complaining are also protected from retaliation!
According to the law’s supporters, family retaliation is an especially common practice used against immigrant workers, who frequently find work alongside family members in agriculture fields, warehouses, and hotels. Some examples of how retaliation might occur:
- Employee’s hours are changed, making it more difficult for him/her.
- Location to which employee is to report is changed.
- Employee’s office location or furnishings is changed.
- Employee’s workload increases.
- Employee’s workload substantially decreases.
- Employee is taken off “key” accounts.
- People gossip about or demean employee who brought a claim of harassment, or was involved in the investigation.
- Employee is excluded from social functions where they were included in the past.
- Employee is demoted.
- Employee is given horrendous projects no one else likes, or have all “fun” projects taken away.
- Employee’s working conditions change, office is changed.
- Suggestions are made that the employee should leave the workplace or department.
- Employee’s work is now hyper-analyzed or criticized.
Once again, communication is key. Keep checking back with the employee and ask what his/her perceptions are.