The federal law protects you from workplace discrimination based on a protected category such as age, gender, religion, national origin, race, color, national original or disability status. The law also shields you from retaliation if you report workplace discrimination. While it can be difficult to detect when retaliation occurs, it may take the form of fewer work assignments, limited hours or even demotion. 

Review the signs of retaliation after you report discrimination so you can protect your job and avoid continued mistreatment in the workplace. 

Defining retaliation

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission calls retaliation a negative action against an employee for reporting federally prohibited discrimination. You may experience retaliation if you file a legal complaint against the company, report harassment in the workplace, refuse to take part in discriminatory practices, resist sexual harassment, or request reasonable disability or religious accommodations. 

Types of retaliation

Retaliation can take the form of inaccurate poor performance evaluations, unwanted transfers, demotions, verbal or even physical abuse, threats of reports to law enforcement, unnecessarily increased supervision over your work, unwanted schedule changes, or any other form of negative treatment at work. 

If you think you have experienced retaliation at work after reporting discrimination or harassment, you have legal recourse. Start by talking to your human resources representative or direct supervisor. Bring documentation of the negative actions that you suspect constitute retaliation. 

When these measures do not address the retaliation, you can file a complaint in court. For a successful retaliation lawsuit, you must show that reported discrimination and that the negative actions by your employer directly stemmed from this report.