What is the law regarding employment retaliation?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What is the law regarding employment retaliation?

I presented several policy discrepancies to my HR, practices that I thought were unfair. I did so in a confidential environment. In return the company agreed with my claims of unfair practice and enforced policy infractions across the board, even after I plead for them not to. This effectively ostracized me and now no one talks to me, works with me, they walk away when I approach, and I cannot effectively complete tasks. Not to mention my morale and the morale of my peers currently. This extends, to a lesser degree, all the way through management. What can I do? Do I have anything legal to stand on? Or did my actions warrant this type of retaliation?

Asked on September 3, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If you shared policy concerns with HR, your company is entitled to act on them--e.g. to enforce policy infractions--and can disclose the source of the complaints or concerns unless and only if there was a written agreement from them to not do so and/or to not disclose your role in the absence of a written confidentiality agreement and/or written confidentiality policy in an employee handbook, the fact that you believed that you were sharing the concerns in confidence is irrelevant. Remember HR works for the company, not for you as a general matter, you cannot assume that asomething you share with HR will be confidential.
The company cannot and is neither expected nor required to control the relationships among coworkers or employees if your coworkers now ostracize you due to your actions, that is nothing that the company is liable for or is required to get involved in.
Furthermore, the law does not make one adult, whether a coworker or otherwise, talk to, interact with, etc. any other adult, so your coworkers are free to ostracize you.
In short, while the situation you describe is unfortunate, it appears to be legal, and you do not seem to have any valid cause of action or claim.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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