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3 forms of retaliation that violate workers’ rights

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Employment Law |

There are both federal and state laws that establish certain rights for workers. Employees have the right to receive at least minimum wage for the time that they work and possibly also overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week.

They should have a work environment that conforms to baseline workplace safety standards for their industry. They also should not have to tolerate discrimination or harassment as a condition of their employment. The law also allows employees to request accommodations for medical conditions or organize with each other to ensure fair treatment by their employers.

Sometimes, when workers engage in appropriate and protected workplace activities, their employers punish them for doing so. Retaliation is technically illegal, but it occurs with alarming frequency. What types of employer retaliation could workers potentially experience?

Transfers or demotions

One of the more common ways that companies retaliate against workers is to put a worker who makes use of their rights or reports misconduct in a less favorable employment situation. The company might demote someone to a position with a less prestigious title. Management might start scheduling someone for fewer shifts. The company might even transfer someone to a different location or shift, which could cause significant complications for the worker.

Unjust termination

Although businesses in Florida can largely choose who to retain and who to hire under at-will employment laws, it is still illegal to terminate someone for engaging in protected workplace activity. Retaliatory firings are somewhat common and can leave someone struggling to pay their bills as they look for a new job.

A suddenly hostile workplace

Sometimes retaliation looks like members of the management or human resources team sharing information with other employees that should remain private. Teammates could engage in conduct that makes a person’s day-to-day work experience objectively miserable. The goal of such conduct is often to force someone to leave the company without actually firing them.

Workers facing illegal retaliation can theoretically fight back. Pursuing an employment lawsuit based on allegations of retaliation could compensate a worker and possibly also punish the business involved. Workers can take legal action when a company violates their rights. Those who understand what behavior constitutes retaliation can work with a skilled legal team to hold employers accountable for inappropriate conduct.