Many of the employment actions that involve asserting your rights create protection for you under federal law. Whether you talk with coworkers about their wages to start the process of unionizing your workplace or report harassment to human resources, you have every reason to expect that your employer will comply with federal law and respond appropriately.
Negotiating with unionized workers, investigating claims of harassment and accommodating workers with medical conditions are all basic ways that employers can fulfill their obligations. Unfortunately, despite federal regulations against employer retaliation, there are still businesses that will punish workers who stand up for themselves on the job.
What are some of the ways that your employer might punish you for filing a workers’ compensation claim or asking for unpaid wages?
They might summarily terminate you
Florida is an at-will employment state, so companies can theoretically fire you at any time with no reason or advance notice. However, they cannot fire you or take other punitive measures against you for asserting your workplace rights. A termination that comes right after an FMLA leave request or a discrimination report could be employer retaliation.
They transfer or relocate you, not the other party
If you report someone for misconduct, whether you witness the sexual harassment of a teammate or experience racial discrimination from a supervisor, the company should take steps to protect you from that misconduct.
Doing so should typically affect the party accused of misconduct rather than the party reporting it. Some companies will transfer those who file complaints to other departments, lower-paid positions or different shifts. Those may all be forms of retaliation.
They start writing you up or become critical of your performance
If how you perform your job does not change but the company’s attitude toward your work does, that change may be the direct result of you speaking up about misconduct or trying to organize other workers. Some businesses will repeatedly write someone up or give them poor performance reviews to justify a firing that is actually retaliatory in nature.
Understanding the various ways in which your employer might retaliate against you can help you fight back against company misconduct and protect your career.