Employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees who report wrongdoing or file a complaint. That does not mean they don’t. Many bosses and managers get away with it because their workers are either unsure of their rights or unsure of what retaliation looks like.
An employer who is aware of the rules prohibiting retaliation may try to disguise their actions in one of several ways. Here are three to consider:
1. Blaming it on financial difficulties
Your boss comes up to you and tells you that they are going to have to let you go because the company is not making enough money to employ current levels of staff. It might be true, but if you are the only one being cut, and you recently complained about some kind of improper behavior, try to assess the true financial situation.
2. Blaming it on poor work quality
You’ve worked with the company for years and always got above-average performance reviews. Then, having blown the whistle on illicit company activities, you find yourself being marked down in your appraisal. If you are still performing as well as you always did, consider whether the poor reviews are an attempt to justify firing you.
3. You’re given a promotion that is not really a promotion
Your boss calls you in and tells you they want you to move up the ladder and run your own team. It sounds great until you discover where they want to send you. Maybe it’s in an undesirable location, or perhaps you’ve heard rumors they will be shutting that site down next year. Either way, it’s not as positive as they make out.
If you feel your employer is punishing you for speaking up against wrongdoing, seek legal help to discover if you have a viable case and what your options are.