work place retaliationAlthough you have every right to pursue legal action against your employer for discrimination, harassment, unpaid overtime, breach of contract, or other types of workplace misconduct, most employees do not pursue legal action for fear of experiencing retaliation. Retaliation is a broad term that includes adverse action taken against an employee after the employee has filed a complaint. Simply put, it’s a type of punishment the employer issues against the employee for exercising his or her rights — and it’s illegal.

Here are the five most common types of retaliation employees face after filing a claim. If you believe your employer has broken the law, including retaliating for speaking up about discrimination, harassment, and other wrongdoings, you may want to consider seeking the counsel of an experienced employment law attorney.

Demotions, Denial, Discharge

Demotions, denial of benefits, and discharge are the three most obvious examples of adverse job actions.  Keep in mind that there is nothing wrong about exposing an employer for unlawful conduct. Whether you have suffered from sexual harassment, age discrimination, racial or gender discrimination, or have been cheated of overtime pay, you cannot legally be retaliated against for taking action against your employer. Yet employers who are faced with a charge of illegal discrimination may find ways to demote you, deny you benefits, or discharge you from your job. If this has happened, you should speak with an experienced employment attorney in Virginia Beach.

Exclusion from Workplace Happenings

Being excluded from workplace activities, such as group lunches or meetings may be a red flag that you are being retaliated against at work. While it is one of the most common methods for retaliating against an employee, it’s difficult to prove. If your supervisor does not include you in work-related decisions, meetings, or other communications that directly affect your work, it could be grounds for retaliation.

Verbal Abuse from Supervisors and Coworkers

If you have raised your voice about an employer’s potential wrongdoing, you may not be surprised that those involved in the wrongdoing are being extra salty; however, you may feel let down by coworkers who feel encouraged to put you down as well. Employees may face retaliatory verbal abuse from their supervisors and coworkers alike. It is important for you to make your employer aware of the fact that this abuse is occurring.  If your employer allows the verbal abuse to continue or fails to acknowledge it, your employer could be liable for retaliation.


A stark contrast from experiencing a rise in the intensity of unfair treatment is the mark of invisibility after news about impending legal action spreads throughout the office. Feeling invisible can be equally as emotionally damaging as being the subject of verbal or sexual mistreatment.  To help minimize this feeling, try to be as discrete as possible about your discrimination or harassment claim by not discussing the claim with anyone not directly involved.

Post-Employment Retaliation

If you do make the difficult decision to quit your job, you may be subjected to retaliation after the fact. In some cases, employees who have left a toxic work environment continue to be subjected to hostile practices.

Consider an employee who leaves her job and applies to a new position using her former supervisor’s name as a reference. Even if this supervisor was not the one she stood up against, the supervisor may not have liked the actions she took. The supervisor may choose to retaliate by providing false information to her prospective employer or none at all.

If you believe that you have been subjected to retaliation in the workplace, an employment lawyer may be able to assist you.  Bertini Law handles a wide variety of employment cases and represents employees seeking resolutions to discrimination, harassment, unpaid wages, defamation, breach of contract, non-compete violations and several other legal issues. We also work with companies, including medical and legal practices that need help in human relations. Call (757) 222-9165 for a legal consultation to discuss your employment law case.