Workers have the right to feel safe in their workplaces and not suffer retaliation from their employers. Workplace retaliation can occur in a variety of circumstances which are prohibited and workers should be familiar with examples of prohibited activity for their own protection. Workers are protected in a variety of circumstances.
Unfortunately, employer retaliation is the most commonly alleged basis of discrimination in the federal sector. Laws prohibit punishing employees or applicants for jobs because they assert their rights to be free of employment discrimination and harassment. The bottom line is that it is unlawful to retaliate against employees and job applicants in certain circumstances which both employees and job applicants should be aware of so they can better understand their protections.
Examples of when it is prohibited to retaliate against and employee or job applicant include when the employee has filed or been a witness in an equal employment opportunity complaint, investigation or lawsuit; for communicating with a supervisor or manager about workplace discrimination including harassment; for answering questions during an investigation of alleged harassment; for refusing to follow direction that would result in discrimination; for resisting sexual advances; for requesting accommodation for a disability or religious practice; and in some other circumstances as well.
It is important for workers to have safe workplaces and for the rights of workers to be protected in their workplaces which requires them to be familiar with what those workplace protections are. Workers should always be familiar with their workplace protections and know how to enforce them.