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How can employee retaliation impact your career?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Employment Law

Employer retaliation refers to adverse actions taken by an employer against an employee in response to the employee exercising their legal rights, such as reporting wrongdoing in the workplace.

While retaliation is illegal, it still occurs. These retaliatory behaviors can result in significant repercussions on an individual’s career trajectory if they aren’t immediately addressed and rectified.

Loss of career advancement opportunities

When an employee experiences retaliation, their chances for career advancement within the company are often compromised. Retaliation may manifest as demotions, unjustified negative performance reviews or being passed over for promotions or desirable assignments. This can stagnate the individual’s career growth and limit their professional development.

Damage to the worker’s reputation

Retaliation can tarnish an employee’s reputation within their industry. If an employer spreads false information or provides negative references in response to an employee’s protected activities, it can impact the individual’s ability to secure future employment opportunities. Reputational damage may extend beyond the immediate workplace, affecting the individual’s standing within their professional network.

Emotional and mental health effects

Experiencing employer retaliation can have profound effects on an individual’s emotional and mental well-being. The stress, anxiety and fear associated with retaliation can lead to decreased job satisfaction, increased absenteeism and even mental health issues such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. These factors not only impact the individual’s current job performance but also their overall quality of life.

Legal ramifications

In addition to the personal and professional consequences, employer retaliation can result in legal implications. Federal and state laws protect employees from retaliation for engaging in protected activities such as whistleblowing or filing complaints of discrimination. Employers found guilty of retaliation may face fines, legal fees and damage to their company’s reputation, but only if workers stand up for their rights.

Employer retaliation poses significant risks to an individual’s career. Employers must recognize the importance of fostering a workplace culture that promotes transparency, accountability and respect for employees’ rights to mitigate the negative impact of retaliation on both individuals and organizations. For employees who believe they are facing retaliation, there are legal options worth considering, given all that it is at stake.