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How to prevent claims of retaliation

As an employer, you want to avoid as many employee claims as possible. You may be taking steps to prevent claims about harassment, but what about retaliation? According to the EEOC, retaliation is the most common basis for claims of discrimination in federal jobs.

Due to the fact that retaliation is the reason many employees file claims against their employers, it is in your best interest to avoid retaliating against your employees. First, you must fully understand what constitutes retaliation under the law.

Understanding retaliation

Retaliation is any adverse employment action you may take against a worker for partaking in a protected activity, such as:

  • Filing a discrimination charge with a local, state or federal agency
  • Filing a discrimination complaint with your company
  • Threatening to file a discrimination complaint or charge
  • Serving as a witness or otherwise participating in a discrimination lawsuit or investigation

Negative actions include discipline, demotion, termination, reduction of pay, change in job duties or negative evaluation. 

Control your frustration

If one of your employees files a complaint or report, try not to take out your frustrations on him or her. While it is understandable for you to feel these emotions, it is best for you to not let it show. Instead, treat the worker the same as you did before. Any differential treatment may lead to a claim of retaliation. 

Be consistent in how you treat employees

Sometimes, you need to make tough decisions that negatively affect your employees. Even if you need to fire or demote someone, make sure you are acting according to your past behaviors and employment policies. 

Listen to concerns and respond effectively

Make sure you or someone else is there for your workers when they have a complaint. Pay attention to any concerns and respond promptly to them. The more you make your workers feel welcome and protected, the less likely you are to face claims of discriminatory retaliation. 

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