Identifying retaliation in the workplace

| Aug 28, 2020 | Employment Law |

When people in Delaware report an act of harassment or discrimination at work, they might also experience retaliation from an employer. Retaliation is prohibited in some circumstances, but in other cases, it is not necessarily illegal.

This can be complex, and sometimes, the employer may not fully understand the parameters of what constitutes retaliation either. For example, a female employee may report that a male employee will not stop asking her to go out with him even though she has asked him to stop. The male employee may be very valuable, so the employer might decide to transfer the female employee to another shift. The employer might think this is not retaliation because the employee’s pay and title were unchanged and the female employee did not describe it as harassment. However, the employee does not have to use the words “sexual harassment” to report it.

Furthermore, even if the actions of the male employee did not rise to the level of sexual harassment, if the female employee believed it did, the employer could not retaliate. A situation in which acting against the female employee is not considered retaliation would be if she made the complaint in an effort to take the other employee’s shift. In some cases, an employer might try to terminate an employee for poor performance after a report, but the performance might be because of harassment.

Employees who are facing harassment or discrimination at work may want to consult an attorney to discuss their rights and what may constitute retaliation even if they are initially planning to try to address the problem in the workplace. Retaliation might come from coworkers as well as supervisors. If the workplace does not respond appropriately, the attorney may be able to determine the best course of action and how the employee’s rights can be protected.