It’s bad enough when a line manager has to deal with a legal-type complaint from an employee that may or may not be justified. So no manager in his or her right mind wants to make things even worse.

And yet, sometimes that’s what managers do, more often out of lack of knowledge than any malice.

What can easily happen is that a supervisor, faced with a discrimination complaint, request for FMLA leave, or other exercise of an employee’s legal rights, turns around and commits what the law considers “adverse action” against the employee.

When that happens, it no longer matters whether the employee was right or wrong in the initial situation. The supervisor has broken the law by retaliating.

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