During, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received a little more than 39,000 reports from workers who claimed their bosses illegally retaliated against them. This made retaliation complaints nearly 54 percent of the cases the EEOC handed that year, far outpacing reports of disability, sex, or racial discrimination.
Managers and supervisors retaliate against employees for one reason above all others. They fire, penalize, and mistreat workers who voice concerns about violations of law and disregard for employees’ rights. Whistleblowers and individuals who report abuse, unfair pay practices, or unsafe working conditions suffer retaliation.
Federal Laws Prohibit Retaliation
Each law that protects job applicants and employment retaliation lawyer includes provisions that prohibit retaliation against people who exercise their rights under the applicable law. For instance, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. The law also makes it illegal to fire or demote a person who goes to human resources/management to report racist abuse, sexual harassment, or religious discrimination.
In legal terms, the person who reports a violation of their rights under Title VII engages in what is called “protected activity.”Any retaliatory act taken against a person who engages in a protected activity is illegal and can provide grounds for an employment lawsuit.
Other federal laws besides Title VII that often get referenced in retaliation lawsuits are the
- Fair Labor Standards Act, which guarantees a minimum wage and sets rules for being eligible to earn overtime pay;
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers who are 40 years old or older;
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal funds;
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which protects expectant and new mothers;
- Whistleblower Protect Act, which aims to prevent retaliation against individuals who report waste, fraud, and abuse in government spending;
- Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires employers to consider making reasonable accommodations for people who request them;
- Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows workers who have spent at least one full year with the same employer to request and use unpaid leave to deal with a health problem or act as a caregiver; and
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which provides job protections to members of the military reserve and to military veterans who have entered the civilian workforce.
This is not a complete list of federal laws that protect employees. It does not include things like whistleblower protections under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, for instance.
The list also excludes the numerous state and local laws that give workers legally enforceable rights and protection against retaliation for engaging in protected activities.
Additionally, workers’ compensation eligibility is determined by state laws and regulations. Managers and supervisors cannot penalize employees for filing workers’ comp claims or submitting an accident report.
Retaliation Takes Many Forms
Retaliation against employees often escalates, as well. Wrongful termination is a frequent endpoint of retaliation, that can follow from a demotion, reassignment to a low-status position, or the denial of a promotion. When such an action happens within a short time period of an employee engaging in a protected activity, grounds for filing a retaliation lawsuit may exist.
Speaking with an experienced employee rights attorney will help a person understand if they can file and possibly succeed with a retaliation lawsuit. Seeking legal advice can be especially important in these types of cases because several different U.S. government agencies and state government offices administer the laws that prohibit retaliation. Going to the correct agency or office is key to ensuring that a remedy can be sought.
Author Section –
Peter Friedmann is a lawyer at The Friedmann Firm, LLC. He represents clients in Wrongful Termination, Employment Attorney, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination Lawyer Columbus Ohio and other crimes. Peter is one of the top Employment Attorney in Columbus, Ohio.