When an employee files a complaint against your company, your first thought might be to protect your business by removing that person. You can’t do this because it is considered retaliation to fire someone simply because they filed a complaint against your company.
Retaliation is a serious problem because it is illegal. Termination isn’t the only employment action that falls under this category. Putting the person on a less desirable shift, moving them to an undesirable location, dropping their pay, demoting them or cutting their hours are also considered retaliation.
If you are going to take any of those actions after a person made a complaint, you need to ensure that you have the documentation to back up your decision. You have to be able to show that you didn’t take the negative employment actions because you wanted to punish them for the report. You need to have other reasons, such as substandard performance. Showing evaluations and similar components of the person’s employment record is beneficial.
You should remember that protections against retaliation are only present if the complaint the employee made was factual. They can’t file complaints against your company just to be vindictive or mean. Instead, anything they say must be fact-based.
Your business must have policies in place to prevent retaliation. Proper documentation of all issues with employees is necessary so that you have those records to fall back on if you do take adverse employment actions against an employee. Supervisors need to know what’s acceptable and what isn’t. They need to be prepared to act in the best interests of your company, but only if the options they are considering are lawful.