Employees have the right to file a complaint if they believe their employer is violating the law or engaging in unethical practices. How the company responds to these complaints is crucial in preventing additional retaliation charges.
If you or a supervisor at your organization penalize an employee for exercising their right to engage in legally protected activities, you may face a retaliation complaint. Federal and state laws on retaliation help protect employees when they engage in activities such as:
- Filing a wage and hour claim
- Reporting harassment and discrimination
- Reporting fraud and illegal activities
- Refusing to participate in unlawful activities
- Participating in an investigation against the employer
A business may be found to have taken retaliatory action if top-level managers treat workers poorly in response to the employees’ actions. Acts of retaliation do not have to be as obvious as terminating or verbally assaulting an employee. Though subtle, excluding the employee from meetings or micromanaging them can be considered retaliation.
The value of an anti-retaliation policy
It is crucial to develop an anti-retaliation policy that informs all employees, from C-suite to lower-level staff members, about reporting incidents and the potential consequences of retaliation. Your organization may also benefit from providing management with guidelines for handling employee complaints.
Everything in the policy should be clear and understood by your employees. It will also be beneficial to put these policies in writing to prevent misunderstandings and increase compliance. Making sure to distribute and enforce the policy can help you build a strong case if a claim is filed against your company.
In addition, California law requires employers to write a harassment-prevention policy. It should provide processes for employees to submit complaints without involving their immediate supervisor or harasser.
An anti-retaliation policy can help employees feel safer and valued in the workplace. Unfortunately, many of the complaints filed against companies are for retaliation. Developing an anti-retaliation policy is a great first step if you want to boost employee satisfaction while safeguarding your company from lawsuits.