March 25 Tip of the Week

Adverse Employment Actions


Do you know what actions are considered adverse employment actions that could give rise to a claim for retaliation?  For retaliation claims, an adverse action involves a material change in the terms and condition of employment.  Some of the actions are fairly obvious and include: termination, demotion, non-hire, denial of job benefits, suspension, or a pay cut.  However, some of the less obvious actions can include: reassignment to a less desirable position or duties, reduction of work hours, relocation to a less desirable workplace (for example, further from the employee’s home or requiring the employee to move), putting an employee on a performance improvement plan (PIP), poor performance evaluations, especially when they effect an employee’s pay, or disclosing to other employees an employee’s identity as the filer of a complaint an agency (the EEOC, Department of Labor, OSHA, etc.).  A recent case from the state of North Carolina held that actions which reduced opportunities for career advancement and promotion would constitute an adverse employment action to support a retaliation claim.  As you can see, what constitutes an adverse employment action is not as clear cut as it may seem.  Consult knowledgeable legal counsel at myHRcounsel for any questions!