Retaliation in the workplace can involve a wide range of scenarios. For example, if an employee files a complaint about a coworker or manager and is subsequently given a bad performance review that isn’t justified, transferred to another department, subjected to verbal or physical abuse, became targeted by workplace rumors, or otherwise had their work life made intentionally harder, that could be retaliation.
Often, retaliation is much more prevalent than many managers realize, and it can be seriously damaging to a company’s culture. Additionally, many skilled professionals won’t tolerate environments where retaliation is common, leading them to seek out opportunities with competitors instead of remaining in a hostile workplace.
One survey indicated that one-third of IT professionals at large tech firms witnessed or experienced retaliation after they or another employee reported an issue. If you are wondering whether your workplace is affected by retaliation, here are some signs that may be the case.
Criticism and Scrutiny
If an employee is subjected to increased criticism and scrutiny after filing a complaint or reporting an issue, that could be a sign of retaliation. Whether it involves inaccurately measuring their performance, being overly critical, or simply questioning their judgment more often, treating the employee differently after they report a problem are troubling signs of workplace retaliation.
This is especially true if any negative feedback is being discussed in front of others, such as their coworkers, employees and managers in other departments, or members of the leadership team. Criticizing someone publicly could be seen as an attempt to harm their reputation with others, something that can be detrimental to their working relationships and their career, which can be a form of retaliation.
After an employee reports a problem, if they are suddenly being removed from critical meetings, denied feedback or guidance, removed from training plans, or otherwise having opportunities eliminated, this could be retaliation.
Similarly, removing enjoyable job duties and replacing them with less desirable tasks could also be an indication of an issue, as it limits the worker's ability to derive satisfaction from their role.
Department, Location, and Schedule Changes
Relocating a worker to a different department, office, or cubicle could be viewed as retaliation if the employee did not express a desire for the change. Similarly, changing their schedule against their wishes could also be seen as punishing the person for filing a complaint or bringing up an issue.
Such changes disrupt the worker’s life and could harm their career, which qualifies them as potential forms of retaliation. However, if such changes are made at the employee’s request, they typically don’t fall into that category.
Ultimately, retaliation in the workplace is incredibly damaging, and not just to the person who reported a problem. The culture of the organization is negatively affected, creating an environment full of hostility and stress.
Managers should actively strive to eliminate retaliation in the workplace. Otherwise, the company will suffer. If you are interested in learning more, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our experienced team members today and see how our services can benefit you.