Discrimination or harassment in the workplace is something an individual should never have to face. Everyone is entitled to a safe work environment, and there is no place for sexist, racist, homophobic or transphobic behavior or any kind of religious discrimination.
What's more, employees should feel safe to report inappropriate conduct without fear of retaliation from their employer. Unfortunately, as an employer holds a position of power, reporting discrimination can in fact be dangerous and result in retaliation.
In the federal sector, it is interesting to note how common it is for discrimination allegations, regardless of whether those allegations are indeed a violation of the law, to result in subsequent discriminatory retaliation that is unlawful. It seems that managers retaliate against employees who report discrimination more than you would think, according to an article on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website.
The article further explains that, at its core, retaliation is an act of revenge that is in some ways a natural instinct to curb transgression and save face. If the manager feels personally offended or that employees were unfairly "called out" in a discrimination allegation, he or she may want to take the situation into his or her own hands and retaliate because of feelings of entitlement, personal offense or that the workplace is unfair.
The presence of a physiological response to retaliate is an interesting anecdote to consider in retaliation cases. However, employer retaliation is still illegal, and the need to seek revenge regardless of how a manager feels about himself or herself or the workplace is not a justifiable reason to do so.
If you think you have been retaliated against in your workplace, it may in your best interest to seek legal counsel.