If you believe your Iowa job is retaliating against you, you might feel angry, humiliated, or hurt. Retaliation can come in many forms at the workplace, so it’s important to know how Iowa law defines it.
What is workplace retaliation?
Workplace retaliation in Iowa is when an employer acts against you in a negative way after you exercise a right or engage in a legally protected activity.
A protected activity can be something like:
- Making a workers’ compensation claim
- Reported illegal activity (also known as whistleblowing)
- Speaking out against harassment or discrimination
- Requesting disability accommodations or taking approved FMLA leave
- Refusing to lie on his or her employer’s behalf.
There are many ways that an employer could retaliate against you. These could include one or more of the following:
- Transferring you to a less desirable department or shift
- Demoting you
- Withholding a raise or promotion
- Unfair negative performance reviews
- Reduction of pay or benefits
- Verbal abuse
- Firing you
How do you know if you’re being retaliated against?
Sometimes distinguishing retaliation can be challenging. Your boss or supervisor might become less friendly or talkative, which might upset you, but this isn’t retaliation. Retaliation requires a negative impact on your employment.
Even “at-will” employees have rights against retaliation in the workplace.
What to do if you are being retaliated against
If you suspect that you’re being retaliated against, you are not helpless. The first thing you should do is report the suspected retaliation to a human resources representative. If you voice your concerns and the retaliation isn’t addressed – or it continues after you report it – you should speak with an experienced Iowa employment law attorney.
An attorney can review your claim and tell you whether you have a case. If you do, a skilled employment lawyer can file a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) on your behalf.
How to prove retaliation
Proving retaliation isn’t easy – most employers won’t come out and say they retaliated against you because of your protected behavior. Instead, you’ll need to show the retaliation through evidence you have collected.
Documenting meetings and events
If you are called into a meeting with your supervisor and/or an HR representative, and your supervisor begins to talk about issues regarding your work performance, take notes during the meeting or right after. Write down all the details you can.
If you are able, we also recommend recording any meeting on your cell phone. Iowa law allows one-party recording, so you do not need to inform your employer that you are doing so.
Keeping important records and documents
It is crucial that you keep any records related to your employment. These types of documents can provide important information to an attorney and help them negotiate your case to a fair settlement.
Some examples of the important documents include:
- Any performance improvement plan (PIP)
- Termination letter
- Employment reviews both before and after the retaliation
- Emails or notes from your supervisor that show improper conduct
- Notice of demotions or reduction of pay or benefits
If you believe you are being retaliated against, it’s important you contact an experienced Iowa employment law attorney as soon as possible. You only have 300 days from the date of the retaliation to file a complaint. This does not give you a lot of time, so you must act quickly.
RSH Legal offers a free, no-obligation case evaluation. To schedule yours, call 1-800-433-0283 today.