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5 subtle forms of retaliation that could damage your career

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Firm News

When cooperating with an investigation or reporting wrongdoing, many workers worry that they will lose their job. However, retaliation at work is not always obvious like a demotion or firing. There are hidden ways it can happen that are just as harmful to an employee’s career growth. What are some subtle forms of retaliation employees should watch out for?

Changes in work schedule

If an employer changes someone’s work schedule for no good reason – giving them worse shifts or times that make it hard to work with others – it can impact job performance. Constantly changing when someone works can also clash with their personal life. These shift changes could make the job more difficult.

Shifts in responsibilities

Sometimes, an employer might change what an employee is responsible for. This might not seem like a big deal at first, but it can seriously affect the employee’s career. For example, they might take away important duties needed for moving up or give the employee simple tasks that do not match their skills. On the other hand, they might give too much work, setting the employee up to fail.

Unfair scrutiny or criticism

Being too critical of an employee’s work, focusing too much on small mistakes, reprimanding a worker without reason or being overly harsh can also be a form of hidden retaliation. If this criticism affects their performance reviews, it can impact their career in the long run.

Exclusion from communication

Good communication is key to doing a job well. Being left out of critical communications can undermine their workplace performance. If an employee does not know about meetings, training, or important emails, it can make it hard for them to do their job well.

Withholding resources or information

Not giving an employee the tools, information, or support they need can really hold back their performance and career growth. This might mean not getting the same training or opportunities that others get or withholding support from colleagues or supervisors.

These subtle actions can quietly undermine an employee’s position. Recognizing and addressing this retaliation can help them protect their career and hold their employer responsible.


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