There are so many protections for employees. But the saddest thing about them is how few employees know or understand what they are. Some salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay and aren’t aware of it, for instance. In other circumstances, some employees are wrongfully terminated for doing the right thing.
Not only are these employees victims, but they have legal options for recourse. Imagine an employee who witnesses his employer commit a violation. The employee reports it through the proper channels, whether to a government agency or through human resources.
An investigation ensues, and the employer is cleared of any wrongdoing. But what happens next? What if the employer cuts the reporting employee’s hours, demotes him, or decides to terminate the employee? Is this okay? That is a broad example of retaliatory behavior. Federal law prohibits it, as does the state of Florida.
Recognize Retaliation When It Is Happening
In short, you can look at retaliation as a negative consequence of participating in a protected activity. To elaborate further, a negative consequence is unnecessary, which comes from an employee acting justifiably and within the law.
As mentioned above, demotions and terminations are two examples of this. Having your hours cut, being excluded from meetings and assignments you used to be a part of, and being the target of abusive behavior—physical or verbal, are other examples.
The other half of the equation revolves around protected and legal activities. In the scenario above, the employee thought he witnessed a violation. It could have been an illegal activity or something that went against company policy. Regardless, the employee cannot be subjected to retaliatory behavior.
No one should feel unsafe in the workplace. If you experience discrimination due to race, religion, sex, or nationality, you have every right to report and respond in accordance with the law. Furthermore, you have the additional right not to experience an adverse reaction for taking appropriate legal action.
If you have experienced retaliation and seek the counsel of an employment law attorney, hand him as much information as you can. If someone sends a verbally abusive email, save it. Be prepared to show a before and after.
For example, if you were a part of a team and had been on that team consistently for an extended period, being removed from it suddenly could be an instance of retaliation.
Feldman Legal Group
If you have been subjected to retaliation in the workplace, contact the Feldman Legal Group to request your assessment. We combine our trial experience with a passion for helping employees who have been taken advantage of. Let the Feldman Legal Group stand with you and for you.