Common Forms of Employer Retaliation

Posted by: Chris

Many people who are discriminated against in the workplace choose not to report the incident because they are afraid their employer will punish them for doing so. Retaliating against an employee for complaining about harassment or discrimination is illegal, but that doesn’t stop some employers from doing it. In fact, retaliation is the most common issue that employees report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). But, what exactly is it? Here are some of the most common forms of employer retaliation:

Verbal Abuse

According to the Ethics Resource Center, 62% of people who have reported some type of wrongdoing in the workplace have been verbally abused by someone in management. Managers lash out at employees in order to frighten and intimidate them so they think twice about ever reporting discrimination or harassment again.

Poor Evaluations

Employees who report incidents in the workplace may suffer during year-end evaluations. A poor evaluation will remain on your employee record and could affect your ability to move up in the company. For many employees, a poor evaluation could also prevent them from earning their annual bonuses. If a manager gives an employee a poor evaluation because of his or her decision to report wrongdoing, this is a form of illegal retaliation.


To get back at employees, some managers will reassign them to a new position within the company. If this move is made in order to retaliate against the employee, the new position will typically be less desirable with fewer responsibilities and lower pay. To avoid legal penalties, an employer must be able to prove that they reassigned the employee for other reasons not related to her decision to report discrimination or harassment.

Closely Scrutinized

Employers who know that retaliation is illegal may be very sneaky when it comes to getting revenge against employees who have reported discrimination. Instead of verbally abusing or reassigning an employee, these employers will scrutinize the employee’s every move until she becomes so uncomfortable that she leaves the company willingly. For example, an employer may pay close attention to an employee’s time card even though other employees arrive and leave work whenever they’d like. The employer could also closely scrutinize the victim’s work and point out her mistakes in a public setting in order to embarrass her. These are subtle forms of retaliation that you should be aware of if you have reported discrimination or harassment in the workplace.

Don’t let the fear of retaliation stop you from reporting wrongdoing when you see it. If you have been discriminated or retaliated against in the workplace, please call Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. today at 918-582-2500, or toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.