Signs of Retaliation at Work | Mann & Elias
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Signs of Retaliation at Work


Anyone who argues against a toxic situation at work can be subject to retaliation. This process is often humiliating and can be psychologically damaging as well. It is a process that workers are protected from by the law. However, it can be challenging to prove. Documentation and a retaliation attorney in Los Angeles are key to ensuring that an employer is punished for any acts of retaliation that they engage in against their employees.

New Tasks

According to an attorney, evidence for retaliation mostly comes from significant adverse changes in an individual’s usual work routine. These changes can be understood as punishments or incentives for a person to change what they are doing that is bringing on the ire of management. Significant new tasks might be work components that are not in a person’s job description or menial tasks.

A company may ask a licensed professional to clean the company bathroom or perform backbreaking landscaping tasks. They may instruct that these tasks be performed in front of their coworkers or even their subordinates. The point of these assignments is to psychologically break down the complaining coworker and push them to either remove their complaint or change their behavior. In cases of sexual harassment, the goal of management is often to convince an individual to withdraw their complaint.

A Loss of Role

The most apparent sign of retaliation is the demotion. In many instances, companies that are engaging in retaliation will not do so explicitly. They are well-versed in employment law and will try to add on as much plausible deniability as possible if any issues arise. In many cases, a company goes through a formal performance review and discovers some negative attributes about a person’s work performance.

There are a myriad of ways that a company can achieve this. They may invent a fake complaint about a person’s performance from a coworker or customer. The company could use many fake complaints to go through a disciplinary process and demote a person. It could seem entirely unconnected to the initial complaint that a person submitted. In some instances, a person could complain about a person in one sector of the building and be disciplined by a boss in an entirely different sector. The main way that a person can track that retaliation has occurred is by looking at the times and the people involved.

They can often gain a certain amount of information about the people that they work with. It is easy to talk to an HR professional or even stop by an office to see if an offending coworker is still at their job. If a sexual harasser keeps their job and the victim is demoted, the victim has a clear case for retaliation and should certainly pursue that case to the fullest extent of the law.

An Expressed Set of Demands

The third sign of retaliation is more prominent. It involves a person receiving demands of what they should do pertaining to a particular work situation. This list may include apologies and remonstrances. It is not uncommon to see a change in their regular work schedule or be assigned to a different part of the office.

They may be told to take action regularly as part of their job about their complaint—practically any action related to a complaint such as sexual harassment grounds a person to claim retaliation. Any written statements that a person receives demanding them to change their behavior in a case such as sexual harassment can be evidence.

What To Do

Anyone who believes they are being retaliated against at work needs to start documenting everything associated with these actions. Every email, letter, and record of a phone call needs to be saved. Company documentation and communications should be held on a computer or even printed out if necessary. Here are a few tips:

  • Document all negative interactions with the boss
  • Solicit documentation on potential complaints and information that has gone into performance reviews
  • Record evidence that proves an unfair job transfer or demotion
  • Seek the aid of an employment attorney in Los Angeles and file a complaint with a state agency

A lawyer will help said person decide what else to do next. They will want to enter into a lawsuit and perhaps set up negotiations for a settlement at a certain point. They may also take the case to a government agency.

The settlement will be vital for ensuring that a person receives at least some amount of redress without a trial. Throughout this process, the chances of being retaliated against by an employer at work will be extreme. An individual should most likely stop working after they begin pushing for their retaliation lawsuit. They most likely would not avoid their toxic work environment even if it did become clear they were going back against their employer. The vast majority of these cases end at the settlement stage. Both sides agree on a particular finding and a particular monetary amount that rights the wrong done to the person filing the complaint.


Being retaliated against by an employer at work is a dire situation for any employee. Many companies convicted of retaliation have to provide back pay to an individual and a significant cash settlement. These companies are often blackballed by employees and looked down upon by the rest of their industry. As a result, you have to make sure to consult with lawyers and find the best to represent you legally. Any act of retaliation should be sufficiently documented and eventually punished. It can be essential to winning redress for a toxic work environment.


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