REPORT RELEASE: Challenging the Business of Fear


Our new collaborative report, Challenging the Business of Fear: Ending Workplace Retaliation and Enforcing Workers' Rights, co-published with Raise the Floor Alliance, a coalition of Chicago area worker centers, captures the stories of what happened when nearly 300 workers from various industries tried to defend and exercise rights in the workplace.

Current workers' rights enforcement relies heavily on workers speaking up about abuse. Yet, our report finds that 73% of those surveyed said they avoided reporting workplace abuse because they feared retaliation. This report highlights the devastating failure of our current workers' rights enforcement system to provide workers with effective protection in the face of retaliation.

Select survey findings include:

  • 75% experienced two or more workplace violations in their jobs
  • 73% avoided reporting workplace abuses at least some of the time out of fear
  • 43% experienced retaliation, particularly loss of work, when they tried to address abuse
  • Among workers who sought relief from retaliation, 55% of their complaints were not taken seriously and 66% did not receive adequate relief

A worker-centered enforcement framework enables workers to fill the role of frontline monitors of fundamental rights in the workplace and demands that the pervasive menace of retaliation be addressed.

Our joint report identifies at least three essential elements to advance this vision:

  • Broad legal protections with fair assumptions and burdens of proof under the law that ensures all workers have reliable access to relief in case of retaliation;
  • A path to justice that meets workers' needs, including timely resolution for retaliation complaints; and
  • Preventative and corrective measures – legal penalties and other enforcement measures that effectively deter employers from delaying and denying justice for workers

Read the full report here.