When an employee is upset about an event at work, one of the challenges is defining what does and does not fit their complaint. While their emotions are valid, it might be difficult to determine what to do with the situation if it does not match the definition.

Retaliation can be incredibly complex. After an employee makes a complaint, it can seem like anything negative in the workplace is retaliation for reporting the incident.

Here’s what you should know about retaliation and how you can make sure you (and your staff) avoid accidental retaliation.

What is retaliation?

Within the workplace, retaliation happens when one employee (often a manager) issues negative consequences to another employee (typically a subordinate) because of something the subordinate did. Retaliation often comes in the form of actions such as:

  • Reduced work hours
  • Change in work duties
  • Changed work hours
  • Undesirable working conditions

It is essential to train managers and others in supervisory roles about what retaliation looks like and avoid behaviors that could be perceived as retaliation.

Training the trainers

Part of running a successful business is having managers who can get the best performance out of your employees. Your supervisory staff needs to have a clear understanding of what actions could be perceived as retaliation.

When managers need to shift an employee to different job responsibilities for the business’s needs, it is essential to make sure that they understand the reason for the change. Changes should also be well-documented, so you are prepared if there is a question regarding the reason for altering an employee’s job duties.

Dealing with reported incidents of harassment and discrimination can be complex and take time. It is important to talk to a skilled attorney about handling the situation for you and your employees.