If you suspect that you’ve been discriminated against or have otherwise been treated unfairly in the workplace, then you need to consider taking action to protect yourself. You should probably report the incident to your supervisor and your human resources department so that you’re making a record of what happened and the steps that you took to try to resolve it.
Yet, a lot of people who find themselves in this situation are afraid that they’ll be retaliated against. It’s a legitimate concern. After all, there are a lot of adverse employment actions that your employer can take against you. This includes:
- Reducing hours
- Reducing pay
- Reassigning you to less favorable duties
- Giving you poor performance evaluations
- Demoting you
- Terminating your employment
And these negative employment actions can have a tremendous impact on your life. But you shouldn’t let your fear of retaliation prevent you from taking the action necessary to protect your rights.
How to cope with your fear of retaliation
Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to quell your fears of retaliation. Let’s look at some of them:
- Know what retaliation looks like: First, you can educate yourself about what retaliation looks like. We mentioned some of the most common ways that retaliation occurs, but make sure that you’re scrutinizing the statements your employer makes to you and the decisions it renders as to your job so that you can better gauge if they’re retaliatory in nature.
- Follow your company’s reporting procedure: Another way to alleviate the pressure associated with reporting wrongdoing in your workplace is to simply follow your employer’s policies for reporting discrimination, harassment, and other issues. This takes the burden off of you as far as how to navigate the matter, and it might lead to a quicker response.
- Find support: We know it’s hard to stand up to your employer when they have so much power over your career and your financial well-being. That’s why it’s important to find support from people who understand what you’re going through and can provide you with an emotional outlet. You might be able to find this support from family members, friends, or co-workers.
- Think about the risks of not speaking up: The fear of retaliation is real and justified. But as you consider whether you should report wrongdoing in the workplace, you should also consider what could happen if you don’t report it. You may continue to be subjected to embarrassing or even dangerous behavior, and you may end up being forced out of your job when all is said and done. Failing to report this behavior could also leave other workers at risk of befalling a similar fate.
- Know the law: You have protections as a worker that are supported by the law. If you know those protections and how the law can help you, then you may be in a more comfortable position to confront your employer. An attorney can help you better understand how you can use the law to your advantage in these matters.
Are you ready to take action?
There comes a point where you’re going to have to decide your next steps. If you decide to report the problematic issue to your employer, then you should hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Therefore, you may find it beneficial to have an experienced employment law professional by your side who can help you navigate the intricacies of your case, especially if your employer retaliates against you.
With a legal advocate on your side, you might be able to hold your employer accountable and recover the compensation that you need to make yourself whole.