You Have Protection.
It happens far too often – an employee makes a complaint, believing that he is doing “the right thing” by bringing the issue to management’s attention, but instead of being rewarded, the employee is “marked” and begins experiencing retaliation. Sometimes this retaliation results in an employee’s termination. Other times this retaliation results in the employee being harassed, transferred to a less desirable position, or demoted. If you’re experiencing unfair retaliation, we can help.
What is illegal retaliation?
Retaliation occurs when an employer refuses to hire you, fires you, cuts your pay, denies you a promotion, or harasses you because of something you did or said. If what you did or said was a legally-protected activity, you cannot be retaliated against. “Protected Activities” include:
- Complaining about unlawful discrimination;
- Participating in an employment discrimination proceeding (i.e. a lawsuit or investigation);
- Complaining about sexual harassment;
- Complaining about workplace safety issues covered by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OSHA”);
- Complaining about an employer’s failure to pay overtime;
- Refusing to engage in an illegal act;
- Requesting a reasonable accommodation for your disability;
- Requesting or taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act;
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim;
- Reporting nursing home abuse;
- Reporting medicare fraud;
- Reporting a publicly-traded company for conduct that violates federal law relating to financial, securities or shareholder fraud;
- Discussing wages or other workplace concerns with your coworkers;
- Being a member of the military or having to leave work to report for duty;
- If you’re a public employee, speaking out on a matter of public concern; or
- Reporting a violation of law committed by a government employer or another public employee.
Examples of actions that would not be protected include:
- General complaints about favoritism or nitpicking;
- Complaints that your supervisor “does not like you;”
- Complaints that a demotion or termination wasn’t fair, or that it didn’t comply with company policies;
- Complaints about personality conflicts; or
- Starting fights or causing disruptions in the workplace.
For retaliation to be actionable, it normally must result in an “adverse employment action,” such as a refusal to hire, a termination, a demotion, an undesirable transfer, or a reduction in compensation.
How we can help:
If you are a victim of retaliation, we can help:
Make it Stop. If we are retained early enough, we can sometimes convince your employer to intervene on your behalf. The individual responsible for the retaliation may be fired or relocated, or if you desire, you may be moved to a different location. We’ll help you through the process, and make sure your employer follows the law throughout.
Negotiate an Exit. In some cases, our clients simply want to get out. We can often negotiate an exit package that preserves your reputation, your access to unemployment benefits, and your ability to get a new job.
Retaliation Lawsuits. If your employer is unwilling to negotiate an out-of-court resolution, a lawsuit may be in order. We represent retaliation clients in court, in arbitrations, and in front of the EEOC. We’ll make sure you understand all of the risks and benefits involved, and if you decide to sue, we’ll shepherd you through – constantly advocating for your rights, and keeping your best interests at the forefront of the process.