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You kept your job – could you still experience retaliation?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2024 | Railroad Accidents & FELA claims |

Whistleblower protection laws support employees who report safety issues, refuse to work in unsafe conditions or help in safety or fraud investigations. These laws prevent employers from taking negative actions against whistleblowers, often called “retaliation.”

Many workers understand that being fired for reporting is retaliation. Unfortunately, employers might also illegally punish workers in unexpected ways. What do you need to know?

7 forms of retaliation

Retaliation at work can show up in many different ways. This can make it hard for employees to realize when someone is treating them unfairly. It is important to know the different forms retaliation can take to protect your rights at work.

Under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), retaliation can take various forms. Any of these actions can impact your income today and harm your career for years to come. Retaliation can include:

  • Firing an employee: The clearest form of retaliation occurs when an employer fires an employee for taking part in a protected activity.
  • Reassignment or demotion: Employers might harm an employee’s career by moving them to a less favorable position or demoting them. This can affect their salary and future job opportunities.
  • Denying overtime or promotion: Employers may also retaliate by not allowing overtime or refusing to promote an employee.
  • Cutting pay or hours: Reducing an employee’s hours or salary without a legitimate business reason can be a form of punishment.
  • Undeserved discipline: Employers might punish workers for small or made-up issues after they engage in a protected activity, potentially setting them up for firing.
  • Intimidation or harassment: Creating a hostile work environment can be a way to punish the employee for whistleblowing. It might also discourage them from reporting further.
  • Limiting access to medical care after an accident: Railroad accidents are often severe. Employers may try to punish workers by discouraging the use of first aid or refusing to provide necessary treatment after an accident on the job.

Thankfully, it is possible for workers to hold employers responsible for retaliation. This can benefit workers in many ways. For instance, employers might have to reinstate the employee, allowing them to return to their previous job. They may also have to pay the employee for the wages they lost due to the unfair treatment.

Even though losing your job is a recognized form of retaliation, it can also occur in less noticeable ways. Knowing their legal rights and how to spot retaliation can help employees protect their career and maintain a safe and fair workplace.