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Know your responsibilities. Know how to respond.

retaliation happens

What Is Retaliation? 

Section 13-116 of the Omaha Municipal Code prohibits retaliation against or the penalization of a person because that person has filed a charge of discrimination, has complained of alleged discriminatory practices or policies, or has assisted a government agency in an investigation of alleged practices.

A person has the right to file a charge of discrimination with the City of Omaha Human Rights and Relations Department (OHRRD) without fear of reprisals or retribution. So, even if OHRRD or a court of law finds the charge to be unfounded, a boss or supervisor may be in violation of the law for any retaliatory conduct that occurs after they become aware of the charge or complaint.

What Should I Not Do? 

If a complaint of discrimination has been filed against you, it is important that you do not engage in the following:

  1. Do not treat complaining employees/persons differently than non-complaining employees/persons in the terms and conditions of employment. This difference in treatment may consist of:

    • Undue surveillance
    • Unfavorable letters of recommendation or references
    • Denial of benefits and privileges
    • Contesting unemployment compensation claims
    • Disciplining complaining employees more harshly than non-complaining employees for similar conduct or conduct usually ignored
    • Placing unjustified reports in a complaining employee's personnel file

  2. When asked for a job reference do not tell the prospective employer that the person in question has filed a charge of discrimination against you. While it is true that an employer may give a bad reference if such reference is, in fact, true, the employer must be prepared to show documented evidence that the reference is true and the employer’s practice is to give bad references for other employees who have not complained.
  3. Do not refuse to hire or recall a person for the reason he/she complained or filed a discrimination charge.
  4. Do not discharge an employee for the reason he/she complained or filed a discrimination charge.
  5. Do not treat an employee differently because of his association with other employees, spouses or friends who are protected under the law or who engage in activities protected under the law.
  6. Do not initiate policies that have the effect of stifling the employee’s right to advise co-workers of their civil rights to complain to anyone about discriminatory practices and to participate in public demonstrations about discrimination in the industry.
  7. Do not withhold wages of employees who take work time to testify in governmental investigations if you compensate others for jury duty or other absences.
  8. Do not transfer or demote an employee because he/she has complained of discrimination, even if there is no loss of pay.
  9. Although you may discharge an employee for poor job performance or violation of company rules, make sure you have treated the discharged employee the same as other employees. Be prepared to justify your treatment of the discharged employee. OHRRD will carefully scrutinize any employment decision that occurs shortly after an employee complains or after you know of the discrimination charge.

What Should I Do?

There are a few simple steps you can take to foster an atmosphere of non-discrimination in your workplace:

  1. Review your policies and rules. Employees should not need permission before they can cooperate with government investigations of discrimination. Non-supervisory workers should feel free to assist in government investigations of discrimination.
  2. Publish and disseminate policies explaining employee rights to complain and/or file charges, as well as the company’s policy prohibiting retaliation.
  3. If a complaint is filed, conduct your own investigation and question employees regarding the alleged discrimination.

What If I Am A Landlord Or Property Manager?

While the above information pertains mostly to employment-related situations, Section 13-321 of the Omaha Municipal Code also prohibits housing-related retaliatory actions including, but not limited to:

  • Rental/leasing
  • Sale
  • Eviction
  • Harassment
  • Segregated units
  • Service
  • Pricing
  • Deposits
  • Lending

Retaliation Is Against The Law.

Retaliation is a violation of the Omaha Municipal Code. The penalties for a violation of the Omaha Civil Rights: Anti-Discrimination Ordinance includes, but are not limited to, monetary damages and reinstatement.

In order to avoid issues regarding retaliation, the general rule is to treat complaining persons in the same manner as those persons who have not complained or filed a discrimination charge.

This agency is here to help you. If you have questions regarding retaliation or discriminatory practices, or would like assistance in providing employment and housing training, please contact us at:

Call us at:

Phone: 402-444-5055
Fax: 402-444-5058
TTY: 402-444-5031

Visit us at:

Omaha / Douglas Civic Center
1819 Farnam St., Suite 502
Omaha Nebraska 68183

Connect with us online at:


Fairness shouldn't be a fairy tail. Discrimination happens don't ignore it. Call 402-444-5055