Managers may feel compelled to retaliate against employees who have made their work more difficult by filing a complaint with Human Resources. Many employers are aware outright retaliation is illegal, and many are aware they cannot fire, lay off or demote an employee who has filed a complaint.
However, this will not stop certain employers from getting more creative with the ways they retaliate. Some methods are so subtle the employee does not even realize he or she has become a target. When in doubt, here are several questions to ask yourself to determine if you are a victim of retaliation.
Has your work environment changed?
Receiving a demotion is a clear sign your boss has retaliated against you. However, in some circumstances, a manager will provide an employee with a lateral designation. The worker makes the same amount of money but now works in a completely different environment. This may constitute retaliation because working in this new environment may not benefit your career in the long run.
Have you lost money?
It is also important to consider an employer's actions when it could cost you money. For example, a boss may pass you over for a promotion even though you have all the qualifications for it. You have lost out on additional money. However, it is also important to consider the qualifications of the person who did receive the promotion. If this person has worked at the company for less time than you, then it is likely retaliation.
Is your employer trying to get you to quit?
Most employers know they cannot outright fire someone after he or she has lodged a complaint. That will not stop some from making work at the business unbearable until you eventually quit on your own. This can include spreading negative information about you around the company as well as micromanagement. Some people may find it easier to find different work elsewhere, or you can file a lawsuit against the employer in question.