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Subtle Signs Your Employer Is Retaliating Against You

October 26, 2023 Wrongful Termination & Retaliation

Workplace Retaliation Is Unlawful, but Common

Retaliation occurs when your employer takes an adverse action against you for engaging in activity that the law considers protected. Some examples of protected activities may include:

  • Reporting harassment or discrimination
  • Reporting or disclosing legal violations, rule violations or fraud
  • Reporting waste or abuse
  • Participating in investigations or lawsuits with regard to your employer’s behavior

Sometimes, retaliation is obvious—you report illegal activity and are immediately fired or demoted. However, retaliation can also be more subtle. Here are a few examples of less obvious retaliation.

Sudden Exclusion and Isolation

If you’ve filed a complaint and your colleagues, team or supervisor is suddenly ignoring you, this may be a sign of retaliation. This can happen when management spreads bad rumors about you or the action you took to your team.

If you’re suddenly dis-invited to meetings or after-hours gatherings you attended before; if your normal lunch companions are suddenly no longer available; if you only hear about important meetings afterwards—these may be subtle signs that your employer is trying to exclude or isolate you.

Unwanted Changes in Shifts and Hours

It’s not unusual for employees who do shift work to take turns working the less desirable shifts. But if you suddenly find your schedule is all less desirable shifts for as far as the eye can see—or if you’ve suddenly been assigned fewer hours or less desirable hours—this may be retaliation.

“Suddenly Stupid”

The “suddenly stupid” tactic involves your supervisor feeling the need to micromanage you after you took part in protected activity. If you abruptly feel like your boss is watching you like a hawk and that you suddenly can do nothing right—this may be retaliation.

This tactic can also manifest in the form of bad performance reviews. If you’ve received a terrible performance review and your reviews were generally good in the past, and you haven’t changed anything about how you work, this may be an example of retaliation.

Exclusion From Opportunities

Not being invited to meetings, events, and after-hours hangouts can be a subtle form of retaliation. So can blocking you from opportunities for advancement such as advanced training or leadership of an important project.

If you find yourself not being invited to important training events that would help you move forward with your skills and career, or denied higher-visibility projects that could help with your career advancement, this may be retaliation.

Are You Experiencing Subtle Retaliation at Work? Talk to an Employment Lawyer

If you’re not sure you’re being retaliated against but things don’t feel right at work, it could be that you’re the victim of subtle retaliation. If you’re not sure, it can help to talk to an employment attorney.

Your attorney can assess the situation, determine whether your employer is acting unlawfully, and help you gain restitution. Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.