How do you know when you’re experiencing workplace retaliation?

by | Dec 12, 2019 | Employment Law |

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

We would ask Delaware readers of our Wilmington employment law blog at Martin D. Haverly to please excuse our reference to a most time-worn and arguably overused maxim. The duck analogy, though, does seem to tightly apply as a standard relevant to today’s above-posed entry headline, so we avail ourselves of it.

That standard centers on the factors that reasonably indicate unlawful employer retaliation being aimed at a worker for any number of reasons. Perhaps an employee promotes union activities that a manager disapproves of. Or it might be the case that a worker understandably grew tired of workplace discrimination and/or harassment and filed a formal complaint. Maybe an employee spotlighted an employer’s violation of wage laws.

Whatever the case, an employer has no legal right to retaliate against a worker who reports wrongful or illegal conduct.

Yet that is precisely what happens with distressing regularity in workplaces across the country.

When it does, its results can yield devastating consequences for a targeted employee. Many workers suffering from retaliation know well what is happening to them, but can’t readily point to overt examples they feel must be spotlighted in order for them to bring a legal claim.

Sometimes an employer’s retaliatory conduct is clear enough even absent proverbial “smoking gun” evidence. We stress on our website that courts routinely construe the following acts (and similar conduct) as retaliatory:

  • Changed employment terms resulting in a worker’s demotion or negatively altered job status
  • Company blowback of any sort following whistleblower activity
  • Selectively applied punishment or discipline
  • Loss in pay or firing

Retaliation is a workplace taboo and an act that can be legally challenged by an affected worker. Meaningful remedies marked by maximum compensation are secured by plaintiffs in many cases chronicling an employer’s retaliatory conduct. Questions or concerns regarding this important area of law can be directed to a proven employment law attorney.