In Hawaii and throughout the United States, the law bars employers from retaliating against their employees for reporting unlawful employment practices. If you have come forward with a claim of harassment, discrimination or other illegal practice, state and federal laws prohibiting retaliation protect you.
Of course, this does not mean retaliation does not happen. One of the keys to protecting your rights in this situation is in understanding the many forms retaliation can take. Some of the most common forms include:
- Terminating employment: Many workers are reluctant to come forward with a claim for fear of getting fired. This type of wrongful termination is all too common.
- Demotion and wage reduction: There are many reasons an employer can legally demote you or reduce your wages, but retaliation is not one of them.
- Poor performance review: For many employees, performance reviews play an important role in career development. A poor review can result in demotion, reduction in salary and other adverse outcomes.
- Change in assignment: Employees prize some job duties above others. If your employer changed your assignment to a less favorable set of duties or relocated you to a less desirable location, it may be a case of retaliation.
Retaliation can be overt or very subtle. In order to prove retaliation, you must demonstrate that your employer treated you in a way that negatively impacted you, and that the treatment was in response to you coming forward with an employment claim, participating in an investigation, reporting the company to government authorities or participating in some other protected action.
The best way to determine if your employer’s actions meet the legal definition of retaliation is to consult with an experienced employment law attorney. Your lawyer can let you know the strength of your claim and help you explore all of the legal options available to you.