Advice For Dealing With Workplace Retaliation: Save Those Nasty Emails
Legally, retaliation is firing, demoting or harassing workers because they complained or filed a discrimination charge. Experts say between 50 percent and 70 percent of retaliation cases are perpetrated by managers, but retaliation can also include bullying as a form of retribution.
"I hear a lot of people say, 'I was a whistleblower, and I was bullied as a result of that,' " says Catherine Mattice, who founded Civility Partners, a consultancy focused on changing hostile work culture.
In a previous job, Mattice herself faced an office nemesis, who demeaned and berated her and others. Her work suffered; she posted notes to herself saying "Get Up" on her alarm clock. After begging the company president to intervene, he told her to leave — immediately.
"So he watched me pack my things and I left that day," Mattice says. "Was I retaliated against? Maybe. Should I have seen an employment attorney? Probably."
As her own experience illustrates, Mattice says retaliation can exist in a gray area, and she advises others to save nasty emails and document the incidents.