Fight back against your employer's retaliatory efforts

Like most other Louisiana workers, you need your job. Because of this, you may put up with assignments that aren't ordinarily part of your job duties or with a supervisor who doesn't have the friendliest personality, but when the requests or actions cross the line into harassment or discrimination, you have the right to say something.

Unfortunately, some employers don't appreciate you standing up for yourself or another person, and they begin a campaign of retaliation against you. Your work environment could quickly become hostile, which makes it difficult for you to go to work each day. You should know that your employer cannot legally retaliate against you for valid complaints, and if this happens, you have the right to fight back — through legal action.

What actions constitute retaliation?

Employers do have the right to terminate or discipline employees as long as those actions do not become retaliation for you asserting your rights not to be harassed, discriminated against or retaliated against by your employer, a manager or supervisor, or even a co-worker. Actions that the law could consider as retaliation include the following:

  • Bad performance reviews
  • Seemingly unnecessary reprimands
  • Demotion
  • Physical or verbal abuse
  • Making threats to report you to authorities
  • Reporting you to authorities
  • Making work difficult for you, i.e. a schedule change
  • Spreading false rumors
  • Increasing scrutiny

If a member of your family does business with your employer, the retaliation could be against your family member. If you feel as though you became the victim of any of these actions when you asserted your rights through a protected activity, you may be the victim of retaliation.

What is a protected activity?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission considers the following actions by employees as protected:

  • Resisting sexual advances
  • Refusing orders that would discriminate against another
  • Requesting an accommodation for religious or health reasons
  • Having contact with the EEOC
  • Talking to your employer about harassment, discrimination or retaliation
  • Answering questions regarding harassment, discrimination or retaliation
  • Requesting salary information in discriminatory pay complaints

You may also take action to protect another employee from these actions.

Filing a complaint and taking legal action

If you believe that your employer engaged in retaliatory behavior because you engaged in a protected activity, you have legal rights. Since your livelihood is at stake, you may consider having a Louisiana attorney at your side to guide and assist you to help safeguard your rights throughout the process.