Many workers that often face harassment or discrimination at their job hesitate to speak up because they fear the impact it will have on their careers. They feel like they could risk losing their job or receive even worse treatment than they did before for trying to speak up about the problem.
Many employees are successful in making their employer aware of their issues, whether it comes in the form of an HR complaint or lawsuit. Their boss might start making some changes to promote a safe and work-friendly environment as soon as they get word. However, these positive changes may not last long. Some employers might play the long game and wait to get back at their workers after time has passed. New York workers should be aware why many companies do this and what their options are to respond.
Waiting for the right moment
If a company retaliates against a worker immediately after they file a complaint, then they further risk legal action. Firing an employee just after they speak out against the workplace makes it apparent that there is hostility and that the worker was correct in their suspicions.
If they wait for months after the complaint was made, the employee might be caught more off-guard. It may look less like retaliation if the company did apply changes that satisfied the worker’s initial request before taking action against them.
Recently, the organizers of the Google walkout in November claimed they were facing retaliation months after the event. They complained of a hostile work environment that tried demoting them and forcing them to go on medical leave despite not being sick. They later organized a town hall meeting to discuss with other workers facing similar treatment after the walkout.
Large companies like Google may hold off on punishing workers for the sake of their public image. They may wait months after the incident to retaliate not only because the worker is in a more vulnerable position, but also when there is less media observing their every move.
Even if your workplace in New York does change for the better after you speak up about harassment or discrimination, don’t believe that peace will last indefinitely. Your employer might just be waiting for the right moment to get back at you. In the event this does happen, know that you can still contact employment law attorneys to help you against your unlawful employer.