Under most circumstances, Pennsylvania employers enjoy wide latitude to staff their enterprises as they see fit. Still, your employer may not violate federal or state employment laws. For example, a supervisor may not use your race, religion, national origin or sex as a reason to treat you differently. Your boss also may not retaliate against you for exercising your legal rights.
In simple terms, you have a right not to face harassment or discrimination at work. Retaliation often happens when someone loses his or her job after bringing up discriminatory or harassing conduct. Not all forms of workplace discrimination are so easily identifiable, though. Here are three subtler signs of workplace retaliation:
1. Denied opportunities
In virtually any field, training and ongoing education are sometimes necessary for career advancement. If your boss suddenly stops offering you these opportunities after your complaint, you may have a problem with retaliation. The same is true if your employer passes you over for promotions or leadership tasks.
2. Sudden exclusion
Not only does interacting with others make your job fun, but it is necessary for completing a variety of work tasks. Unfortunately, though, after you bring up possible workplace misconduct, your manager may exclude you from meetings, social events, networking functions or conferences. If there is no other explanation for the exclusion, you may need to investigate whether retaliation is the motive.
3. Antagonistic treatment
Employers often need not fire workers they want to have gone. Rather, a boss may simply make the workplace so intolerable that the individual leaves on his or her own. Working in a hostile or antagonistic environment, however, can be downright brutal. Emotional, verbal or even physical abuse may occur in a hostile workplace.
You should not have to deal with workplace harassment or discrimination. Regrettably, though, after exercising your right to complain, your boss may illegally retaliate against you. By watching for both clear-cut and subtler signs of retaliation, you can better protect yourself in the workplace.