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Workplace Retaliation Claims
Workplace retaliation occurs when an employer takes an adverse employment action, such as firing or demoting an employee, in response to a claim of discrimination with which the employee is involved. This includes activity one employee takes on behalf of another employee who is being harassed or discriminated against.
While employers cannot punish employees for asserting their legal rights, workplace retaliation still happens on a regular basis across the country. In fact, over one-third of the discrimination claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) during the past few years included a retaliation claim.
To maintain a retaliation case under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, you must be able to prove three things:
- You took part in a protected activity or you witnessed illegal discrimination or harassment and reported it.
- Your employer took a materially adverse job-related action against you, including firing or demoting you, denying you a promotion, or creating a hostile work environment.
- Your employer acted against you because of your protected activity.
Is All Workplace Retaliation Illegal?
Not all retaliation is illegal. In fact, retaliation is only illegal if the law protects the action preceding the retaliation. While the law can vary from state to state, there are two main categories of protected activity employers cannot legally retaliate against:
- Participating in an employment discrimination proceeding, regardless of role
- Opposing unlawful discriminatory practices
In addition, as long as the claim of harassment or discrimination is made in good faith, your employer is prohibited from retaliating against you.
Employment Retaliation Lawyer
An employer cannot engage in workplace retaliation against a full-time, part-time, temporary, or former employee. An employer also cannot retaliate against job applicants engaging in a protected activity. Employees who believe they may be victims of workplace retaliation need to ensure they understand the signs of retaliation, and document their own job performance and any abuse to help prove their case.
If you think you are being retaliated against, be sure to keep a record of every negative action and any verbal or written evidence related to your case. Write everything down, even small unimportant details, and include the date, time, and location – including anyone else in the room who may have witnessed an event. Bring up your concerns with your employer, either with your manager or the human resources office. Be sure you have written evidence you have raised the issue; email is effective for this, but if not an option, ask for a physical paper copy and have the manger or HR officer sign and date the complaint. If you have questions about your workplace environment, contact Whitfield, Bryson & Mason today.
Whitfield Bryson & Mason
Our trial lawyers were specifically chosen for the depth of their experience and the breadth of their knowledge. Among the group are attorneys who have been recognized for excellence by industry associations and have gained national recognition for significant victories in challenging cases.
John Whitfield has been significant in his management of a suit involving the death of my son in a motorcycle accident. His professionalism, compassion, support, and especially his knowledge base in this suit has been above reproach. He has communicated well and kept all parties apprised of the status of the suit. I feel he negotiated effectively to reach the best possible settlement for my son's estate. He certainly assures his clients are represented well. I am grateful for his successfully bringing this suit to a satisfactory conclusion. In short, John's expertise has been awesome.
I am very grateful to Gary Mason for taking the initiative in filing suit against the manufacturers of defective CSST pipe. I am sure that this successful litigation will now help Maryland homeowners become aware of the danger of old style CSST pipe and to let them know what steps they may take to protect themselves against those dangers. Who knows how many lives and homes may be saved as a result of his efforts. Thank you Gary Mason for your important work in this litigation. I enjoyed working with him on this effort.