Stop Retaliation, Bullying, Harassing, and Discriminatory Practices

Judy Culwell
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Stop Retaliation, Bullying, Harassing, and Discriminatory Practices

In State Supported Living Centers

   It is illegal for your employer to retaliate.

·        You cannot be punished for standing up Workplace retaliation is practiced by some managers for the purpose of making employees afraid to complain or to assert their rights.   If they can punish you, who is ever going to speak out? Retaliation is prohibited so that people can enjoy full access to the protection of the Civil Rights Act.  It is prohibited so that people will not be afraid or feel terrorized at work, but rather, empowered to speak up.


·        The anti-retaliation law is concerned with protecting employee’s right to complain or to seek grievance. When someone is suddenly treated differently at work, are assigned different responsibilities, or excluded from meetings or discussions, or cannot get a position or a promotion that they are highly qualified for after exercising their rights to complain or to seek grievance or report wrongdoing it is retaliatory.


·        Harassment and discrimination is about abusive work conditions, which is different from retaliation.  The prohibition against retaliation is not for the purpose of protecting people from abuse, or even discrimination, even though Acts of Retaliation do involve abuse. If people are afraid to report violations of the Civil Rights Act, or if they are afraid to offer witness, the law cannot effectively be enforced and that is the intention for retaliation.


·         Enforcement depends on courage and cooperation. Individuals who have suffered retaliation and are living in fear of losing their livelihood, being subjected to stressful and hostile working conditions, and harassing activities that cause negative effects on their health, relationships and families are hard pressed to find the courage to stand up, speak up and declare their rights of freedom of speech.


·        You are protected if you engage in some protected activity like whistle blowing or filing a complaint, or reporting abuse and neglect towards individuals with developmental disabilities. As an employee, it is your duty to protect the rights of people with developmental disabilities who reside at state supported living centers. You are required to sign a legally binding document stating that you will do so within one hour if you witness or suspect acts of abuse and/or neglect. But who protects you from retaliation for doing so? If your job is suddenly changed in some way that is detrimental, like being moved to another location, given an unexplained job change, change in job duties that are less favorable than your previous position, demotion, cut in pay, being put on levels, or suspension, and if you and other reasonable people take that as a warning or even as an incentive not to complain, it is retaliation.


·        The law is not concerned about whether or not it was meant to be a threat or meant to hamper free speech.  In a retaliation complaint, the objective test has to do with how people experience or respond to the events they observe. How people would respond is knowable, measurable and a matter of common sense and common experience.  In every workplace,   there is a poster or a pamphlet that says retaliation is unlawful and prohibited, with zero tolerance. Yet what others see happening to those who report will keep them from reporting and that is the exact intention of the employer.


·         Retaliation is illegal, irrespective of the excuse. Even if they try to make it right afterwards, even if they give you back the things they took from you, the harm has already been done. That is the test that defines retaliation.  Intuitively, people know what retaliation looks like.  Everyone knows that if you complain, there is a good chance you are going to be punished. Everyone knows about management discovering or creating excuses to make employees appear inept, to be performing poorly in their job duties, incompetent in trivial matters, and on the verge of being made to quit or be fired. Retaliation is workplace terrorism designed to shut you up. The “no-harm, no-foul” rule does not apply here. The damage has already been done.


·        An organization cannot function effectively when workers are afraid.  People won't ask questions they should ask, they won't report things they should report, and they won't stand up to authority when necessary. Management should not be the last to know when something is wrong, especially if employees are protecting the rights and lives of people who need protecting from abuse and neglect. Making certain that employees feel empowered to voice their concerns is a test of organizational leadership. Management may not have gotten the message that ignoring employee complaints is a huge risk, but they soon will.  The Supreme Court is taking violations of people’s rights by means of retaliation very seriously and has generously awarded complainants for damages incurred.

                                  PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION! 

The truths herein applies in every phase of life, to every one, ever where.

Stop Retaliation, Bullying, Harassing, and Discriminatory Practices

In State Supported Living Centers




Judy Culwell




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