Employers can’t take negative action on you because you file factual complaints about the company or employees of the company. Just because this is the law doesn’t mean that some employers won’t retaliate anyway. There are some instances in which employers do take negative actions and just assume that employees aren’t going to speak up about the retaliatory actions.
One thing to note is that you can’t make false complaints or reports and expect that you will keep your job as is. Employers do have the right to fire you or take adverse actions if you are making false reports or complaints. This is why it is important for you to always ensure that you are presenting facts that are completely accurate.
Retaliation is forbidden in many instances, including when there are instances of discrimination or sexual harassment. Even if you are only a witness in the case, the employer can’t retaliate against you.
Adverse actions can include anything from demoting you to firing you. Even actions like cutting your hours or giving you a less desirable shift can be construed as adverse actions. In many cases, the employer might try to make it seem like these actions were taken because of lax work performance, but you might be able to tie the actions to the complaint or report you made.
It isn’t always easy to spot retaliation. Oftentimes, you will have to dig deep to find out what is really going on. Employers might work hard to make adverse actions seem unrelated to the fact that you filed a complaint. This is why the investigation phase of these cases is so important.
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “