You have the right to file a complaint or a Charge of Discrimination, participate in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit, or oppose harassment or discrimination without being retaliated against by your employer. Punishing applicants or employees for asserting their rights to be free from discrimination or harassment can violate the law.

This doesn’t entirely protect you from discipline or discharge from your job. Your employer may discipline or fire you if there is a non-retaliatory and non-discriminatory reason that would otherwise result in such consequences. However, an employer is not allowed to do anything in response to an equal employment opportunity activity that would discourage someone else from resisting or complaining about discrimination.

What this means for you

Employers are not allowed to retaliate against you for:

  • filing a discrimination complaint or being a witness in a discrimination investigation, or lawsuit,
  • communicating with a supervisor about employment discrimination or harassment,
  • answering questions during a discrimination or harassment investigation,
  • refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination,
  • resisting sexual advances or intervening to protect others,
  • requesting accommodations for a disability or religious practice, or
  • asking about salary information to uncover potentially discriminatory wages.

Examples of retaliation

In general, this means that you cannot be:

  • fired,
  • rejected for a job or promotion,
  • given lesser assignments,
  • forced to take leave, or
  • otherwise disciplined

for reporting discrimination.

Questions? We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your rights as a worker. Many questions about your rights may be answered by using the following elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors:

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) work together to coordinate investigations of complaints.

For additional assistance, please contact:

Learn about filing a complaint

We’ll help you decide what to do next and determine whether filing a complaint is the best course of action. You must file a complaint within a certain timeframe to take further legal action, so it is best to begin the process early.

Please note that it is illegal for your employer to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise retaliate against you for reporting an issue to the OFCCP or EEOC.

File with OFCCP File with EEOC