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What Is An Adverse Employment Action?


As an employee in New York City, you have various federal, state, and local laws that provide vital rights in the workplace. Among these rights is the right to report wrongdoing. This is a protected activity in the workplace, and when you exercise your rights and engage in protected activity, it’s illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for it. Protected activity can include various actions, such as reporting discrimination or taking FMLA time. Of course, while this may be illegal, it doesn’t stop it from occurring. In a workplace environment where employers do not respect their employee’s rights, you could become the target of retaliation and suffer from adverse employment actions.

An adverse employment action is an action that an employer takes against an employee that negatively impacts them. If you recently engaged in protected activity and have experienced an adverse employment action in your workplace, you may be experiencing retaliation. The NYC employment lawyers at Brown Kwon & Lam are here to help.

Examples of Adverse Employment Actions

There’s no one specific type of adverse employment action, so this may occur in different ways. Adverse employment actions are also not always obvious, and even when it’s clear to you that you’re being retaliated against, it can be difficult to prove to others. Some examples of retaliation include the following:

  • Demoting the employee
  • Giving the employee a less favorable shift
  • Reducing the employee’s pay
  • Excluding the employee
  • Terminating the employee
  • Undermining the employee’s work
  • Denying promotion
  • Giving an excessive amount of work
  • Harassing the employee

These actions on their own aren’t illegal. Employers may take disciplinary action against or terminate employees for legal reasons. Adverse employment actions are illegal when they’re used to discriminate against employees for their membership in a protected class or to retaliate against them for engaging in protected activity.

How Do You Prove Retaliation?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you need evidence of the following to prove that you experienced retaliation for engaging in protected activity:

  • You engaged in protected activity.
  • Your employer took an adverse employment action against you.
  • Retaliation was the reason your employer took the action against you.

In some cases, employers may claim that there was a valid reason for the adverse employment action, such as claiming the employee was underperforming. This is why it’s essential to have an employment lawyer who can help prove that the adverse employment action was an act of retaliation and there was no other legitimate reason for it.

Find Out How a New York City Retaliation Lawyer Can Help

You shouldn’t have to suffer in any way for exercising the rights that employment laws entitle you to. If this has happened to you, a retaliation lawyer can help examine your situation and see what you can do to get justice. Brown Kwon & Lam has experienced workplace lawyers who can help employees being retaliated against for engaging in protected activity. Many employees experience retaliation each year, and we can help protect your rights and receive fair treatment.

Contact our New York employment lawyers today if you’ve experienced an adverse employment action for exercising your employee rights.