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Retaliation generally takes the form of a demotion, harassment, transfer, or termination of employment. Even a lateral reassignment can be retaliation if the reassignment impacts your eligibility for promotions or advancement. The Supreme Court has also determined that an employer cannot retaliate by taking action against people who are close to you.
An employer may not retaliate against an employee who engages in conduct protected by law. Protected conduct includes opposing workplace discrimination against you or another employee, assisting an investigation of discrimination, refusing to engage in conduct you believe to be unlawful, asking your employer about your legal rights, taking protected medical leave, requesting accommodations for a disability, associating with other people of a certain race, sex, national origin, or religion, or otherwise exercising your rights under the law.
Employees also have the right to organize without employer retaliation. This right includes the right to join or assist labor unions, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other activities for mutual aid or protection.
If you “blow the whistle” on an employer’s illegal activity, you may also have whistleblower protection. A number of state and Federal statutes include anti-retaliation protection for individuals who report violations of the law. In some cases, the law even rewards individuals who blow the whistle on illegal activity. For more information, click here to visit the Whistleblower/Qui Tam section of our website.