Retaliation

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What is Retaliation?

Retaliation claims/lawsuits are one of the more misunderstood areas of employment law.  

Retaliation occurs and is legally actionable where an employee has engaged in protected conduct and then the employer has taken an adverse work action against them.  Protected conduct is conduct where an employee is doing something, or complaining about something that they are legally allowed to.

Examples of protected conduct for which you can be retaliated against, include:

  • Complaining to your employer about racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, disability discrimination (and other forms of discrimination) in the workplace
  • Complaining to your employer about sexual harassment, racial harassment, ethnic harassment, religious harassment in the workplace
  • Complaining to your employer about that employer’s failure to reasonably accommodate your disability
  • Complaining to your employer about that employer not paying minimum wage
  • Complaining to your employer about that employer’s workplace health and safety violations

Where an employee makes these types of complaints and then the employer takes an adverse work action against them (suspension, pay decrease, demotion, write-ups/discipline, etc., up to and including termination) the employee has a claim against the employer for retaliation.

To state a claim for retaliation, it is not enough that you believe your employer is treating you unfairly, the unfair treatment must be of a particular type and related to specific conduct you’ve engaged in that was protected by the law.  In determining whether or not an act of retaliation has occurred, if you believe that your situation is similar to what’s described above, it is recommended that you speak with an attorney so that we can help you determine if, in fact, you have experienced retaliation in your working environment and are entitled to seek compensation for this illegal conduct by your employer.

 

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Forms of Protected Conduct

  • When an employee complains about sexual harassment
  • When an employee complains about discrimination in the workplace
  • When an employee complains about not being paid minimum wage or other wage and hour violations
  • When an employee is complaining about workplace health and safety violation or other types of conduct along these lines