In a broad legal definition, employer retaliation refers to negative employment actions taken against an employee for participating in protected activities. It is strictly prohibited. For example, if a worker is injured on the job and files a workers’ compensation claim (which is a protected activity), it would be considered retaliation for the employer to fire him or her as a result.
Employer retaliation does not just incude firing a worker. It also involves:
- Passing over for a promotion
- Cutting wages
- Excluding from certain benefits
- Filing unwarranted disciplinary actions
All of these actions are illegal if they are used against you simply because you took part in a protected activity. Filing a workers’ compensation claim, filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), whistleblowing on illegal activities of the company, and participating in union activities or other forms of self-expression are all protected actions. This means you have legal protection from retaliation if you participate in these activities.
However, it is important to note that you may still be fired, demoted, or disciplined for other reasons, such as misconduct or poor performance. As long as your employer does not single you out or treat you differently because you took part in a protected activity, you may still be subject to discipline and other negative employment actions. Furthermore, your employer is not legally required to keep your job position open if you are unable to work because of an injury. If you will be out on workers' compensation for a number of months or years, your employer may have to replace you to keep the company going.
Seek Justice by Filing an Employer Retaliation Claim
If you have been a victim of employer retaliation, you have the right to file a lawsuit against your employer. Your employer may claim that the actions were not based on retaliation. Thus, it is necessary to show that you suffered negative employment actions because you engaged in a protected activity. Suspicious timing, written statements showing a retaliatory motive, and other documentation may be used to support your claim in court.
Under the EEOC regulations, there are 3 general remedies you may be entitled to:
- Preliminary relief. The EEOC may file a claim for temporary or permanent relief while the case is being processed. This would result in the court ordering the retaliation to stop.
- Compensatory and punitive damages. Depending on the situation, you may be entitled to financial compensation in order to punish your employer.
- Other relief. This may include reinstatement into a job, back pay, or front pay. The employer may also have to change the policies and procedures of the company, provide regular managerial training, make reports to the EEOC, and perform other duties to enforce compliance.
If You Have Suffered Employer Retaliation, Our Firm Can Help
The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC has more than 20 years of legal experience. We are passionate about defending the rights of workers. If you have suffered employer discrimination or have sustained an on-the-job injury, our team of Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys will handle the paperwork and guide you through the process.
Contact our firm today to discuss your case with one of our experienced lawyers in a free consultation.