The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines retaliation as any type of punishment that a job applicant or employee faces for voicing their desire not be harassed or discriminated against. According to the EEOC, although retaliation is illegal, it’s the primary form of discrimination that those working in the federal sector endure.

One all-too-common reason an individual may face retaliation is because they resist the sexual advances of a co-worker, supervisor or manager or because they step in and stand up for another employee facing the same.

If an employee attempts to speak to a manager or supervisor about harassment or discrimination that they’ve faced at the hands of another, then they may be punished for doing so. If an employee is asked to share what they know about any potential ill-treatment of a co-worker and they do so, that’s another reason they may be retaliated against.

A worker who fails to follow their employer’s orders or requests special accommodations related to their religion or disability may also face repercussions. So may an employee who divulges information about how other employees are being paid inequitable salaries for the same job. In general, employer retaliation can occur against any employee who exercises their rights to the displeasure of their employer.

Since disciplining or firing an employee for retaliatory reasons is illegal, employers may resort to other methods of retaliation. For example, retaliation could include intensely micromanaging an employee or spreading false rumors about them. It could also include transferring the employee to an inferior role, giving them a poor job evaluation, verbally or physically abusing them and even threatening to report them to authorities for alleged illicit activity.

Many employees who experience harassment or discrimination don’t report it because they fear not being able to make ends meet without the income that they’re able to bring in from their job.

If you become the victim of employer retaliation after you exercised one of your rights as an employee, you don’t have to suffer in silence. An attorney with experience in retaliation claims can make sure that you understand your options and rights.