An employer cannot retaliate against employees who assert their legal rights under Idaho or federal employment law or even when accessing internal company policies. Retaliation can happen after an assertion of rights or even before by discouraging employees from exercising administrative or statutory rights. Workplace policies should be fair and must be applied in a non-discriminatory fashion.

What Is Workplace Retaliation?

When an employer or supervisor takes action that negatively impacts an employee who has begun an internal complaint process, filed a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or filed a complaint with the Idaho Human Rights Commission, there might be workplace retaliation. Workplace retaliation can come in both obvious and subtle forms:

  • Barring an employee from meetings and events
  • Transferring an employee to a new department or assignment
  • Withholding a raise or promotion
  • Fabricating a negative work evaluation by suddenly making threats, issuing warnings, or reprimands
  • Creating an unsafe or uncomfortable work situation
  • Limiting the number of hours an employee can work
  • Making false reports to government authorities or the media
  • Engaging in abusive verbal assaults or threatening physical harm

If you experience any of these actions, you should immediately call for a consultation with Idaho Employment Law Solutions.

As an employer, you can protect yourself from claims of workplace retaliation. Consider retaining Idaho Employment Law Solutions to review your internal procedures and revise your handbook to include clear policies, train supervisory staff, and maintain employee privacy.

Examples of Workplace Retaliation

Once an employee files a charge of discrimination, either internally using the employer handbook procedures or with the Idaho Human Rights Commission or the EEOC, the law makes it illegal to fire, demote, harass, or retaliate against either the job applicant or the complaining employee.

An Employer Can Not Retaliate Against an Employee For

  • Complaining or threatening to complain about alleged discrimination against oneself or others
  • Providing information in an employer’s internal investigation of the discrimination complaint
  • Refusing to obey an order reasonably believed to be discriminatory
  • Advising an employer on employment law compliance
  • Resisting sexual advances or intervening to protect others
  • Passive resistance (allowing others to express opposition)
  • Requesting reasonable accommodation for disability or religion
  • Complaining to management about employment law regulated compensation disparities
  • Talking to coworkers to gather information or evidence in support of a potential employment law claim

Retaliation at Work Can Take Many Forms

  • Refusal to hire
  • Termination
  • Docking pay
  • Lesser job assignments
  • Refusal to promote
  • Disadvantageous transfer or lateral move
  • Layoff
  • Punitive training
  • Withholding benefits
  • Adverse changes to the terms and conditions of employment

What Laws Protect You From Workplace Retaliation?

Idaho workers are protected from workplace retaliation by the Idaho Human Rights Law, and if they work for a company employing fifteen workers or more, by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Idaho Human Rights Law incorporates the standards and interpretations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, so that the protections of the federal law encompass Idaho workers whose employers are not large enough to be subjected to federal regulation.

Successful complainants under Title VII and Idaho Human Rights Law are entitled to compensatory damages, including lost income, potential income differential, and loss of future income, if any. Costs associated with an employment search, and even emotional harm, might be included. Punitive damages are rare unless the employer committed a malicious or reckless act of retaliation.

There are limits on the amount of compensatory and punitive damages depending on the size of the employer. Smaller companies with 15-100 employees are limited to $50,000—with an overall cap of $300,000 for employers that have over 500 employees.

What Should I Do if I am a Victim of Workplace Retaliation?

If you believe you are the victim of workplace retaliation, it is important to document all of the actions taken by your supervisor or employer that detrimentally impact you. It’s also important that you review the employer handbook and familiarize yourself with the internal procedures required to preserve your claims.

To ensure that you are fully protecting all your options, you should immediately contact Idaho Employment Law Solutions to discuss the adverse actions taken by your employer to discern what options you have available to you.

Workplace Retaliation FAQs

Can I lose my job if my claim of retaliation or discrimination is lost?

No, it is considered retaliation for an employer to disadvantage an employee whose claim internally or before a governmental agency or before a court of law loses.

Can my employer take adverse action against me because a relative or family member has filed a complaint?

No, it is illegal to disadvantage someone associated with a complainant if they work for the same company. This is another form of retaliation.

Can my employer retaliate against me once I leave the company?

No, this is another form of retaliation. So an employer cannot give you a poor job reference merely because you were a complainant against it.

Contact an Idaho Workplace Retaliation Lawyer

Idaho Employment Law Solutions is an African-American and Veteran-owned law firm providing quality and efficient legal counsel to businesses, organizations, employers/ employees, and individual multi-cultural clients located throughout Idaho.

Idaho Employment Law Solutions is skilled in handling charges of discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, race, national origin and pregnancy submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Idaho Human Rights Commission, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor. Idaho Employment Law Solutions has extensive experience in handling employee complaints about discrimination or harassment before those complaints become official charges of discrimination. Idaho Employment Law Solutions is experienced in guiding its business clients through sexual harassment investigations and provides advice on a case-by-case basis about the most effective way for the employer and employee to address claims of discrimination.

Contact Idaho Employment Law Solutions by phone at (208) 672-6112 to make an appointment. Legal advice will not be provided over the telephone. There will be a $75 charge for initial consultations.

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Ron Coulter at Idaho Employment Law Solutions has been an essential part of my small business team for over 16 years. He worked with my company to develop company handbooks, employment contracts, and employee training. His preventative work was key to our success when faced with an actual employee contract dispute in court. I am grateful to Ron’s attention to detail, phenomenal work ethic, and genuine care for his clients. Idaho Employment Law Solutions is a great partner for small businesses who want to succeed.

Codi Galloway

I was involved in an administrative procedure which could have ultimately led to my termination of employment. I contacted Idaho Employment Law Solutions which is owned and operated by Ron Coulter, a career U.S. Marine Corps Officer.  The qualities that impressed me most about Ron, was that nothing was “sugar coated”, Ron was up-front, straight forward, and Ron told me what to expect at each phase of the administrative process. When I asked a question, Ron always took care to provide a complete answer which very often included a follow-up legal analysis that a lay person could understand. Ron is an outstanding and experienced employment law attorney. He was reassuring and effective in his representation of me in this  administrative procedure.  There is no doubt, that the selection of Idaho Employment Law Solutions was the correct choice

Charlene Hamilton