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3 ways employer retaliation can derail someone’s career

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2023 | Employment Law

Federal employment laws and Florida state rules for businesses establish certain valuable protections for employees. Workers generally shouldn’t have to worry about harassment or discrimination on the job. They have the right to a safe work environment and to speak up if they notice safety or regulatory issues.

There are legal protections in place for workers concerning negative job-related consequences when they engage in protected activities. Employment laws forbid retaliation, and yet many businesses still punish those who engage in protected speech, take protected leave, etc. When unlawful retaliation occurs, the following consequences may result for an affected worker.

Job loss

The most overt and damaging form of retaliation involves an employer ending someone’s job because they reported harassment, asked for medical accommodations or otherwise made use of their employment protections. Losing a job typically causes immediate financial hardship, as a worker will need to look for a new job and overcome a sudden loss of income. People often accept lower-paid positions out of desperation if they suddenly lose their jobs in an act of employer retaliation.

Trouble accessing the best opportunities

If a company changes when they schedule someone who makes tips or changes the type of leads that someone who makes sales receives, that person’s income might drop precipitously, and they may have a hard time moving into better positions elsewhere because of how the employer limits their current opportunities. Even though they potentially keep the job and definitely, they will not benefit as much from their employment as they would have previously because they don’t work during the busiest times or receive as many competitive leads as they once did.

A lack of positive references

Another very damaging way in which employers retaliate against workers involves providing inappropriate information to other companies during a background check or reference call. Generally, employers should not disclose details about someone’s health or protected activities when confirming their employment history or job performance. Still, managers and human resources professionals often break those rules. People may have a hard time continuing to develop their careers when a former employer makes them look unreliable or unprofessional to prospective employers.

Workers who have clear documentation regarding the conduct of their employer may be in a better position to prove and fight back against retaliatory business practices. Understanding how an employer could negatively impact someone’s career development may motivate them to more effectively fight back when they experience retaliation. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.