When an employer terminates an employee for an activity that is not work-related, it is called retaliatory discharge.
Retaliation, itself, is defined as an adverse action that is taken toward an employee because they filed a charge, served as a witness, or took part in an investigation involving an illegal employment practice. Discuss possible retaliation with an employment lawyer today.
A retaliation claim must have three elements before it can be pursued. Therefore, you need to ask the following questions.
A protected action is an activity where an employee resists workplace discrimination by filing a complaint against an employer. Anti-retaliation guidelines in the U.S. make it unlawful to fire an employee who testifies or takes part in litigation concerning discriminatory practices.
Obvious types of adverse activity in the workplace include the following:
Threats, poor reviews, harassment, and reprimands are some examples of adverse activity.
The Supreme Court adds that retaliation may include activities considered “materially adverse” to any reasonable employee–whether or not the activities lead to lost earnings and benefits or to other “punishments.”
For example, if you find a co-worker’s or supervisor’s behavior so reprehensible that it discourages you from filing a discrimination claim, you need to discuss your case legally. This is an example of a materially adverse action.
Another element of retaliation, a causal relationship, shows that an employer committed an unfavorable action because an employee took part in a protected activity. You can either use indirect or circumstantial evidence to show an employer or defendant had a retaliatory motive.
Losing your job can have far-reaching consequences, affecting not only your bank account, but also your confidence and self-esteem. In these situations, it is important to speak to an attorney, as they can handle your case with both discretion and sensitivity.
To prevent retaliation in the workplace, both workers and employers need to know and learn more about legally protected activities to avoid problems with violations. Companies should offer training as well as feature policies that employees and managers can actively follow or enforce.EEOC-Protected Employment-Based Activities.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that the law protects employees from retaliation against the following activities.
As long as the worker reasonably believes they are opposing a possible discriminatory practice, they should not be subject to retaliation.
Sometimes, things can get ugly at work. This frequently takes place if an employer feels threatened about a discrimination claim. When this happens, you need to show evidence of being harassed.
In this situation, you need to save and archive voicemails or emails that prove the sender was using harassing language. Moreover, this activity can extend to any harassing behavior that moves out of the workplace, as long as it is connected to the complaint at work.
Employees should not be subject to retaliation if they refuse to perform a job in unsafe conditions or they report a safety violation at work.
Again, an employer may retaliate in various ways – through disciplinary action or by forcing an employee to resign. In some cases, an employer may reschedule a worker so the times they work conflict with family responsibilities.
In California, liability may be difficult to prove because the state is an at-will work state. This means that an employer can fire an employee at any time without giving them an explanation or a reason for letting them go.
California’s Labor Code 2922 contains certain provisions on at-will employment. Basically, it states that an employer or employee may terminate an employment relationship, provided that the relationship has lasted for at least a month and as long as notice is given.
In some retaliation claims, an employer may strike back against an employee if the worker gets hurt on the job and files for workers’ compensation. It’s illegal for your employer to fire you after your file for the benefits.
Employers may also react by refusing to pay owed compensation in the form of overtime pay or bonuses.
Another legal term associated with retaliation discrimination is whistleblowing.
On the most basic level, a whistleblower is an individual who reports fraud, abuse, waste, corruption, or a danger to public health and safety. They usually report this to someone who works inside a company and has the power or ability to right the wrong. Therefore, a whistleblower frequently works in an organization where the illegal activity takes place. Retaliation discrimination also addresses this activity.
Whenever there is an employer-employee relationship, there’s bound to be a power struggle sometimes. While a supervisor is in their right to delegate work, they do not have the right to infringe on an employee’s workplace rights.
Your employee rights, therefore, revolve around several main categories. These categories include:
Do you believe you have been let go because of an employer’s retaliation? Maybe you’ve been punished for reporting illegal activity. If so, you need to discuss your case with an experienced employment retaliation attorney. Contact the Mara Law Firm today at (619) 762-2949 so you can review your case.
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