How Are Employees Protected Against Retaliation in the Workplace?

How Are Employees Protected Against Retaliation in the Workplace?

In today’s professional landscape, workplace retaliation is a major issue that many employees face. Retaliation occurs when employers or colleagues take adverse actions against an employee who has engaged in a protected activity, such as whistleblowing or asserting their legal rights. It’s essential to understand how to recognize retaliation, know your rights, and take proactive steps to safeguard yourself.

What Does Retaliation Look Like?

Retaliation can manifest in various forms. Here are some examples:

  • Termination without a valid reason or being let go abruptly
  • Demotion to a lower position or reduction of job responsibilities
  • Harassment or a hostile work environment where you experience mistreatment or intimidation
  • Unfair negative performance evaluations or reviews
  • Exclusion from important meetings, projects, or social interactions at work
  • Unjust disciplinary actions like excessive write-ups or suspensions
  • Mistreatment from coworkers who support the employer's retaliatory actions

It’s important to be vigilant and recognize these signs of retaliation. Retaliation can sometimes be subtle and indirect — which can make it very challenging to identify. If you suspect you’re being retaliated against, consider reaching out to an employment attorney or using the appropriate channels in your organization to address the issue.

Key Arkansas Retaliation Laws

In Arkansas, several laws protect employees from retaliation. Consult with an employment attorney like the team at Hickey & Hull Law Partners or start here to familiarize yourself.

1. Arkansas Civil Rights Act (ACRA)

The ACRA is a law that prevents employers from punishing employees who stand up against unfair treatment or participate in actions against discrimination. It covers different types of unfair treatment, like being treated badly because of your race, color, where you're from, religion, gender, disability, or age.

2. Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA)

The FEPA is a law that makes it illegal for employers to punish employees who complain about or give evidence of unfair treatment based on things like race, color, religion, gender, disability, or where they're from.

3. Arkansas Occupational Safety and Health Act

This law stops employers from punishing employees who use their rights to keep the workplace safe and healthy. It protects employees who report dangers at work, make complaints, or take part in investigations about safety and health in the workplace.

4. Arkansas Whistle-Blower Protection Act

The Whistle-Blower Protection Act is a law that helps Arkansas public employees who tell authorities about possible law violations, fraud, or bad management in their workplace. It makes sure these employees are not punished for speaking up.

While these laws are in place to protect employees from retaliation in the workplace, know that retaliation can still occur. And unfortunately, retaliation may be subtle or difficult to prove — creating challenges for affected employees. But it’s crucial to understand that these laws provide a foundation for asserting your rights and seeking justice.

What to Do If You’ve Been Retaliated Against

If you have experienced retaliation in the workplace, your immediate next step should be to take action. Here are the steps you can take:

  • Consult with an employment attorney: Get advice from an experienced employment attorney who can explain your rights, guide you through the process, and help you pursue appropriate remedies.
  • Understand your legal protections: Familiarize yourself with the specific protections offered by Arkansas laws, such as the ACRA, FEPA, Occupational Safety and Health Act, and Whistle-Blower Protection Act.
  • Document incidents: Keep a detailed record of the retaliatory actions you have experienced, including dates, times, individuals involved, and any supporting evidence. This documentation will be valuable when presenting your case.
  • Utilize internal channels: Depending on your workplace, report the retaliation to the appropriate channels within your organization, such as human resources or a designated reporting line. Follow any established procedures for addressing workplace issues.
  • Seek support: Reach out to support networks within your workplace, such as trusted colleagues or employee resource groups. They may offer guidance, resources, or solidarity during this challenging time.

Remember, you have legal protections against retaliation, and it's crucial to assert your rights to ensure a fair and just workplace — and the compassionate yet boots-to-the-ground team at Hickey & Hull Law Partners can help you today.

Protect your rights as an employee. Contact our team today for a free consultation. Fill out our online form or contact us today to learn more. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.