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Adverse Employment Actions

What is an Adverse Employment Action?

An adverse employment action is any negative job action that has a material effect on a worker’s job status.

Adverse employment actions include specific events such as a firing, wrongful termination, constructive discharge, demotion, failure to promote, failure to hire, and the denial or retraction of employment benefits.

Situations involving ongoing harassment or unfair treatment in the workplace can also constitute an adverse employment “action.”

In order to be considered an adverse employment action, however, the act in question must not simply be a minor inconvenience or annoyance to the employee; rather, it must have a substantial negative effect on the employee’s job status, rights, or wellbeing.

Although many adverse employment actions often seem unfair or unwarranted from an employee’s point of view, there many instances where adverse employment actions are allowed, such as when an employee is fired for cause or when an at-will employee is laid off for economic reasons. If, however, an adverse employment action violates an employee’s rights under the law, then the employee can likely take further legal action in response to the unfair treatment. Possible violations may include instances where an action is

  • Motivated by illegal discrimination or retaliation
  • Against the terms of an employment contract
  • In violation of a union agreement

If an employer claims to have good legal cause for taking an adverse employment action against an employee but the justification is simply a pretext for discrimination or retaliation, the employee may seek compensation for violation of their rights.

If you have recently experienced an adverse employment action that you believe may be in violation of your rights, you should seek counsel from an employment attorney who understands the applicable laws. You may have a legal cause of action. A lawyer can help you use the legal system to protect your rights and receive the justice and compensation that you deserve.