New Jersey employers are generally not allowed to engage in conduct that may be seen as retaliation against their workers. Workplace retaliation may include demoting an employee who files a sexual harassment complaint or cutting the hours of a worker who takes part in any other protected workplace activity.

When might an act be seen as retaliation?

Courts often look to the timing of an employment decision when determining if it might be perceived as workplace retaliation. For instance, a poor performance review given after an individual reports his or her employer to the authorities may be seen as retaliatory in nature. A worker who is transferred to another department days after filing a harassment claim may also be the victim of employer retaliation.

Does an act create a chilling effect on others?

In many cases, companies take adverse actions against their workers in an effort to dissuade others from speaking up against company policies. For example, someone who speaks out about poor working conditions may be tasked with working in a warehouse alone during a busy time of day. In such a scenario, the firm is likely trying to frustrate that person or create conditions in which that person’s job performance will suffer. After enough time has passed, the organization can claim that this worker was terminated for poor performance as opposed to speaking out against poor working conditions. Other employees will likely take notice of what happened and be less likely to speak out.

If you are the victim of workplace retaliation, you may be entitled to compensation or other forms of relief. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to return to your job with full pay and benefits.

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