Retaliation happens when an employer (by way of manager, boss, or director) terminates an individual or takes some other sort of adverse action against a qualified individual for engaging in protected action. An adverse action can be taken for a wide range of reasons, including complaints about unsafe working conditions, discrimination, and numerous other similar issues. An employer may take reprisal, even if the employee took the action in good-faith - that is, if the individual was not trying to get a raise or promotion, but rather was following his or her own business model.
Every employee has a right to prove retaliation against them. In order to do so, the employee must show why their discharge or adverse action was based on prohibited grounds. The employee will have to provide written notice of the charge to the employer, as well as must promptly return to work, with a copy of that notice given to any supervisor who may have had knowledge of the employer's intent to fire the individual. In addition to providing written notice of the charge, an employee also needs to promptly and properly file an unemployment claim with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If the employer has knowledge that the employee intends to file a complaint with the BLS, they must advise the employee in writing that their discharge or other actions related to their employment may result in severe monetary penalties.
Many employers understand the serious consequences of taking reprisal against their employees for engaging in protected activities. In fact, many employers train their employees not to complain about even wrongful termination. Unfortunately, not all employers take the same measures to protect themselves from liability for unlawful retaliation. As a result, employees who believe they have been subjected to unlawful retaliation are urged to seek help from an employment lawyer.
When you are subjected to retaliation, it can severely harm your ability to perform your job duties. As a result, you may choose to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or an appropriate state attorney general's office. A lawsuit against an employer is a civil and personal lawsuit, not a criminal action. It does not involve an investigation by the FBI. In order to prevail in a lawsuit, you must show that there has been an actual discrimination or retaliation against you on the basis of your protected activity-even if you are not aware of the complaint until after you have been terminated for your job duties.
You should be very careful about how you prepare your complaint. The first thing you need to do is notify your employer immediately upon learning that you have been subjected to harassment or other actions related to your protected activity. Keep all documentation related to the complaints or charges separate from your personnel files, and do not discuss these matters with anyone else. Also, keep any statements you make in connection with the complaint to yourself. Keep copies of everything you say in writing, and save your notes about the complaint for your records. This document will be extremely important if you ever need proof of the retaliation or discrimination.
You should also keep copies of any written communications about your complaint. Keep the date and time you sent the letter to your employer and any communications about the allegations that were made against you. In addition to keeping all documentation, you should also write down what you intend to do once you receive your termination notice. Keep all documentation about this matter, including phone numbers and addresses of any witnesses, and your plans for contacting these individuals once you learn more about the claims against you. Inform your supervisor or human resource department about the content of your upcoming meetings with these individuals.
After you have finished collecting information about the alleged discrimination or harassment, the next step is to determine whether there actually was any adverse action taken against you as a result of your protected activity. If there are any instances in which your employer disciplines you for reasons that are unrelated to your performance, such as excessive speeding tickets or a bad review, you may have cause for a lawsuit. For instance, if your supervisor informs you that you have been reprimanded multiple times for being late, this is considered an adverse employment action and is at the base of a retaliation case. This can include not only your supervisor but anyone else who may have had contact with you regarding this perceived discriminatory or harassment.
If your claim of workplace retaliation goes to court, you will likely be involved with a number of very intense legal questions and concerns. First, you will likely be asked to prove both direct and circumstantial evidence that you endured the retaliation. Many people try to paint a rosy picture of events in their cases by planting key pieces of information about their employer that can later be used to convince a judge or jury that they experienced no wrong doing. However, if your employer's version of events is completely different from what you know, your claim may be thrown out. Another common problem that arises from filing a lawsuit of this type is that the alleged perpetrator may be innocent. If you are trying to recover damages for harassment or discrimination, this can be crucial.