Employees have legal rights that help people secure jobs with safe work environments. Employment laws are complex. An employee can not face discrimination or sexual harassment, they must receive equal pay for their work and they are entitled to religious or medical accommodations under these laws. Furthermore, employees must not face retaliation from their employers or managers.
Retaliation is a form of punishment employees may face because of their character or actions, such as reporting discrimination, whistleblowing or refusing to have sexual relations with an employer. Retaliation can be subtle or obvious. The following examples can help employees understand how they might face workplace retaliation:
Altered work hours
Many employees have a standard number of work hours they must meet every week. These hours are often scheduled and consistent from one week to the next. An employer or manager may alter an employee’s work hours to make it harder for them to meet expectations. These new hours may also intentionally conflict with an employee’s home life or be altered so an employee can not communicate with their co-workers.
Refusal to pay overtime
An employee who works more than 40 hours in a work week is entitled to one and one-half of their typical pay rate for every extra hour worked. An employer or manager may not be pleased to pay these extra work hours. As a result, an employer may refuse to pay overtime. This action may be consistent with retaliation and wage theft.
Demotion or transfer
An employer or manager may retaliate against an employee by demoting or transferring them. A demotion may cause an employee to lose their typical salary and place them in a role that does not align with their skills and expertise. A transfer may be done to purposefully make an employee commute longer distances to get to work.
An employer or manager may have a history of using their position to retaliate against employees. Employees who are victims of retaliation can help themselves and others by learning their legal rights.