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What Constitutes an Adverse Action Violating Employee Rights?

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When an Iowan’s employee rights are violated, he or she may be confronted with various sanctions for exercising those rights. For a worker who lodges a complaint that there was a violation of these rights, an investigation will look for certain aspects to assess whether the employee was mistreated and has the right to be compensated. For workers who are concerned about this process, it is imperative to understand what constitutes an adverse action.

During the investigation, there must be evidence that the person faced adverse action that stemmed from the employer. It does not necessarily need to happen at work. There are situations in which it can happen outside of the workplace. The following are examples of adverse actions employers might take: discharging the worker; demoting the worker; reprimanding the worker; committing harassment; creating a hostile work environment; laying the worker off; failing to hire or promote a worker; blacklisting the worker; transferring the worker to another job; altering the employee’s responsibilities and duties; denying overtime; lowering pay; denying benefits; making threats; intimidating the worker; and making a constructive discharge.

Some of these terms need to be discussed in greater depth. Harassment can include issuing slurs, making negative and derogatory comments, presenting unwanted physical or verbal conduct. These statements can be so severe that they hinder the work environment. A hostile work environment accrues adverse actions that happen over time and, in combination, can be deemed a legal violation when individually they might not be. When an employer intentionally makes working conditions so problematic for a worker that a reasonable person would be unable to remain at the job and has no alternative but to resign, then constructive discharge has occurred.

There can be a lack of clarity as to whether certain behaviors are considered adverse. Since this issue can be confusing, a law firm with a history of helping workers who have had issues at their place of employment due to adverse actions after protected activities should be called to analyze the case. If it is found that adverse actions took place, a workplace discrimination lawsuit can be filed in hopes of righting a wrong and recovering compensation.