Are You Facing Retaliation for Filing a Complaint?
When you were offered and accepted your job, you likely weren’t even aware of the term, employer retaliation. After all, when you begin a new job you do so with high hopes for a bright and successful future.
Unfortunately, our wishes don’t always come true. And, what seems like a phenomenal opportunity may become uncomfortable and hostile. Thankfully, the law protects you from a host of inappropriate and discriminatory behaviors. There are processes in place to report them and developed plans to address these issues.
What happens, though, when your employer retaliates against you for raising an issue, reporting unfair practices, or even filing for a claim? You may be even more frustrated than before. You do not need to stand for this – you have rights.
In fact, there are Federal laws in effect that are designed to protect you; acts of retaliation may be illegal.
If you are the victim of employer retaliation, seeking legal advice is critical. Cases like this can be complicated and difficult to prove. Our reputable retaliation attorney can review your experience, determine if you have a case, and assist you in pursuing a retaliation lawsuit. The Feldman Legal Group is committed to “fighting for the injured”. We protect the rights of workers in both Florida and Georgia. Contact us today at 877-946-8293 for more information regarding your personal experience.
What Qualifies as Retaliation at Work? Understanding the Entire Situation
Why You May Report Your Employer
There are a number of incidents that may occur in the workplace that would result in you filing a report, thus upsetting your employer. These issues may include, but are not limited to:
- Discrimination: This behavior can be described as unfair (and often illegal) treatment based on your background. There are both Federal Laws and Florida and Georgia state laws designed to protect employees against such behaviors. Workers both locally and nationally have been victims of discrimination based on their sex, race, color, religion, pregnancy, national origin, sexual orientation, and even age.
- Workers’ Compensation Claims: Unfortunately, workplace injuries occur. When this happens, employees are entitled to file for workers’ compensation. These claims can be costly for the employer who may then retaliate as a result of their frustration with their increased expenses.
- Workplace Safety Concerns: If you recognize a violation of safety protocols and report it to your employer or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) you may face a host of repercussions. Some employers have been known to take their frustrations out on the employee who made the report.
- Harassment: In the workplace, harassment takes a host of forms. Everything from pressuring a subordinate to date to sharing inappropriate jokes based on religion or sexual orientation (or other topics) can be deemed inappropriate behavior. Because employees are protected against actions of this type, they can report them.
As an employee, you are entitled to work in a physically and emotionally safe environment. Quality employers resolve issues when they are reported. But not everyone behaves the way they should. In many cases in Florida and Georgia and across the country, those who report concerns face backlash and punishment. If this describes your situation, you should contact a discrimination lawyer as soon as possible.
Understanding Your Protections
Employer retaliation is an incredibly broad term. In general, it refers to the act of punishing employees for their participation in activities protected by law. Examples of these actions include, but are not limited to:
- Filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Reporting instances of harassment and/or discrimination to management
- Pursuing accommodations for disabilities
- Resisting sexual pursuits
- Requesting accommodations for religious practices
Clearly, this list is not all-encompassing, and other actions that you have taken may also be protected by law. Your relation lawyer can help determine if your behaviors fall in the protected category and if your employer’s response was inappropriate and possibly illegal.
Retaliation For Filing a Complaint
While employers are prohibited by law from retaliating against their employees for a host of protected behaviors, many still do. In fact, the practice is common. Reports of this happen on a regular basis, and many individuals simply keep quiet about their experiences with retaliation. They are already frustrated with the backlash they are facing and may not understand these behaviors are not simply unfair, but also illegal. They are unaware that they have recourse.
What are some examples of retaliation? The range of behaviors that can be deemed as retaliatory is considerable. Below, we have shared some of those that are more common.
- Assigning less attractive job shifts or working hours.
- Providing inaccurate performance reviews including negative ratings that do not appropriately describe performance.
- Abusive language
- Spreading rumors
- Withholding promotions or actually demoting the person.
- Reducing salary
If you have experienced any of the actions above by your employer or supervisor, you may be the victim of employer retaliation. Contact our attorney today for more information on your options moving forward.
Retaliation Attorneys Protect Your Rights
How To Prove Retaliation at Work
How do you win a retaliation lawsuit? One of the first things you must do is prove your case. If you believe you have been a victim of employer retaliation for actions you reported to your supervisors, the EEOC, or even OSHA, contacting a reputable and experienced attorney as quickly as possible is critical. Actions you take regarding certain claims (for example those reported to OSHA) must be completed in accordance with their deadlines. You really do not have time to waste.
The law prohibits your employer from punishing you for asserting your legal rights to work in a safe and nondiscriminatory or harassing environment.
That said, proving retaliation can be difficult. In order to do so, you must prove the following three things:
- You Were Involved in a Protected Activity: Reporting discrimination, harassment, and safety violations are defined as protected activities both when they report them and when they serve as witnesses to investigations.
- Your Employer Took Punitive Action Against You: In response to your claim, punitive actions can include demotions, poor evaluations, salary reductions, change in job responsibilities, etc.
- Participation Directly Caused Retaliation: You must be able to prove causation. For example, if you complained about sexual harassment and then had your salary cut – you would need to prove there were no other reasons for the reduction in pay (cost-cutting of salaries across the company in an attempt to reduce expenses, for example.) The punishment must be in direct relation to the participation in protected activities.
Clearly, proving this is not always easy. However, the timing and knowledge of your complaint and the resulting punitive action can be used to show correlation. Knowing this, it is important to gather supporting evidence. Keep copies of your schedule and work assignments from both before and after you reported an issue.
Maintain an accurate record of any retaliation, including the time and dates that it occurred as well as the names of people who can confirm it.
And finally, ensure that all communication you have with your supervisor, management, and HR is always done in writing (via email). The paper trail this creates can be incredibly valuable.
How hard is it to win a retaliation lawsuit? Clearly, it can be a challenge. But, working with a skilled and experienced attorney certainly helps. Contact our retaliation lawyers at Feldman Legal Group today at 877-946-8293 for valuable advice and counsel.
What Is the Average Settlement in a Retaliation Lawsuit?
As with most legal cases, settlements can vary significantly based upon the unique and personal details of your experience. Understanding this, if you do prove your case you may be awarded damages in a number of areas. These include:
- Lost Pay: Encompassing both back pay (lost wages as a result of firing or demotion) and front pay (wages lost going forward), lost pay is first on the list of damages for which you can be compensated. Talk to your attorney about possibly receiving additional compensation for the damage that a demotion could do to your future career plans.
- Lost Benefits: Benefits are an integral part of your compensation package and can include earned vacation time, 401K contributions, and even health insurance. If you are let go or demoted, your benefits could be negatively affected. Your attorney can help quantify these losses for which you may be reimbursed in the settlement of your case.
- Punitive Damages: Applicable only in cases that go to trial, punitive damages are only awarded when the behavior of the employer is particularly concerning. These are very difficult to come by and are designed to punish the employer for his/her poor behavior.
- Attorneys’ Fees: These fees can be awarded separately as part of the decision. However, awards for attorneys’ fees are not always adequate to cover your entire legal bill. You would be responsible for paying any outstanding amount.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for this is often dependent on a mental health evaluation and a jury’s interpretation. Pain and suffering with regard to retaliation cases include compensation for embarrassment, harm to your reputation, and other negative feelings and consequences to which you have been subject.
Your retaliation attorney will review your entire case, help quantify subjective costs and determine the amount for which you should sue.
Feldman Legal Group: Defending Your Rights
Experienced Employee Retaliation Attorneys
If you are facing employer retaliation, your most valuable asset is the advice and counsel of a seasoned attorney. Under the direction of Mitchell Feldman (who has more than two decades of professional experience), the Feldman Legal Group provides its clients in Florida and George with high-quality, responsive service.
The firm is committed to protecting the rights of employees. Their experience in employment law is considerable and they leverage it on behalf of their clients.
Your rights to a safe workplace are nonnegotiable. If you have reported inappropriate action regarding harassment, discrimination, or safety and are now facing backlash, we stand ready to help.
As your workplace retaliation lawyer, we will provide you the support and counsel you need. After listening carefully to your experience we will review all the relevant details and develop a plan of action. We are prepared to aggressively negotiate and litigate on your behalf as we strive for a settlement that appropriately compensates you for all of your losses.
Whether your case takes place in Federal or State Court, we stand ready to help. To discuss your specific situation, contact us today at 877-946-8293.