Many forms of misconduct rise to the legal level of workplace discrimination. As a worker in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area, you might have been mistreated at work because of personal characteristics like your race, sex, age or disability. After speaking up about such a violation, you might have then faced retaliation from your employer. According to a report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, retaliation once again represented the top charge from employees for the fiscal year 2019.

Possible retaliation scenario

Forming a relationship with a superior at your workplace might eventually put you in a position where you feel that your job is threatened. Not all romantic relationships continue for perpetuity. As a result, when your relationship with a supervisor, manager or owner ends, your former partner may attempt to negatively influence performance reviews that could lead to a demotion or even termination.

Scope of retaliation

The EEOC processed 39,110 retaliation complaints in the fiscal year 2019. After investigating these complaints, the commission determined that approximately 70% did not show reasonable cause to justify pursuing the matter further. A portion of the remaining cases, however, did produce monetary settlements. According to the EEOC, its efforts resulted in the payment of over $205 million to settle retaliation cases.

Retaliation overlaps with other complaints

Out of a total of 72,675 complaints to the EEOC in 2019, 53.8% involved retaliation. Disability complaints accounted for 33.4% of charges, and race complaints prompted 33.0% of charges. Sex discrimination caused another 32.4% of cases, and age discrimination was the chief complaint in 21.4% of cases. The numbers for all forms of discrimination exceed 100% because many workers experience multiple forms of mistreatment, including retaliation.

As the numbers from the EEOC indicate, standing up for your rights at work could trigger retaliation, but employment law recognizes that retaliation violates your workplace rights. Documenting, whenever possible, the discriminatory and retaliatory actions aimed at you could strengthen your case when you want to confront an employer. Legal guidance often plays a role in these cases due to the high burden of evidence placed on people in workplace discrimination cases.