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Protect yourself from a retaliation claim

Texas employers must be careful when making many different types of decisions. Although you may always make a good faith effort to comply with employment laws and regulations, you might find yourself facing a discrimination or harassment charge.

The situation can become even worse if you try to handle the claim appropriately and are then accused of retaliation. It can be extremely difficult to know how to handle these often complex and delicate situations.

According to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, retaliation claims are the most regularly alleged basis of discrimination in the federal sector and the most common discrimination finding. This shows that you should be prepared to address a retaliation claim if one arises.

What is retaliation?

Retaliation means punishing an employee or job applicant for exercising their right to be free from employment discrimination or harassment.

There are many different forms of retaliation, some of which you might not be aware of. Retaliation involves more than simply firing or refusing to hire someone because they alleged discrimination or harassment.

While these are some of the more obvious forms of retaliation, activities such as making an employee’s job more difficult, giving a lower performance review, demoting an employee or taking benefits away could be considered retaliation.

When an employee alleges discrimination or harassment in your workplace, it is important to take the claim seriously and act promptly. But what happens if there are problems with the employee that you must address without making it look like retaliation?

Be prepared with evidence to back up any action you take

You can defend yourself against a retaliation claim by showing a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for any action you take against the employee.

Having thorough documentation is one of the best ways to protect yourself against a claim of retaliation. If an employee who accused you of harassment is also always late to work, have attendance records ready showing every day they came to work late.

The records can show that any negative action you took towards them was not motivated by a sense of retaliation, but because of a legitimate reason.

Employment records are one form of evidence you can use. There are other forms of evidence, such as witnesses, which can help with a defense against retaliation, as well.