Retaliation, as defined by MCO 5354.1E, is:
Any conduct whereby a service member or DoD employee intentionally and without t proper authority but with a nexus to military service takes or threatens to take any unfavorable action or withholds or threatens to withhold a favorable action against an individual because that individual: made or was preparing to make or was perceived as making or preparing to make a protected communication; reported or was planning to report a criminal offense; engaged or was preparing to engage in activity in furtherance of EEO or MEO laws and regulations; or, opposed directions to engage in an action that violates law, rule, or regulation or MCO 5354.1E. Retaliation is a category of prohibited behavior that involves animus and results in action being taken against an individual because of that individual’s otherwise protected communication or activity or for the intent to discourage any person from engaging in otherwise protected communication or activity. Anti-retaliation provisions protect individuals to ensure freedom to engage in protected communications and to participate in activity alleging prohibited activities and conduct and potential EO violations and to oppose activity prohibited by EEO or MEO laws and regulations without superiors taking unfavorable actions in response. Retaliation can manifest itself, though not exclusively, in the form of reprisal or restriction, as well as bullying, discrimination, hazing, or ostracism, among other ways.