What rights do employees have against workplace retaliation, you may ask? Employment attorneys like Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC are well-versed in the legal framework, protecting employees from unfair and hostile treatment in the workplace.
Employees have the right to work in a workplace free of unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Numerous federal laws protect employee rights and ensure they have legal recourse if they encounter workplace retaliation.
What is Workplace Retaliation?
Workplace retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee in response to the employee exercising their legally protected rights. Retaliation often creates an adverse change in the working conditions. The employer takes the action(s) against the employee for exercising his or her legal rights.
Types of Workplace Retaliation
- Unjustified negative performance reviews
- Demotion or transfer
- Exclusion and gaslighting
- Increased scrutiny
- Verbal abuse
- Decreased pay and/or benefits
- Denied opportunities
What Activities are Protected?
Federal laws that protect employees from retaliation are primarily enforced by agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Some of the protected activities are:
- Reporting workplace discrimination or harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability, among other protected characteristics.
- Reporting wage and hour law violations like minimum wage and unpaid overtime.
- Reporting practices that contradict workplace safety regulations.
- Participating in an investigation or lawsuit related to workplace discrimination or harassment.
- Exercising rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Organizing with co-workers or labor organizations.
Employees experiencing workplace retaliation should act promptly, as there are time limitations for filing complaints and lawsuits.
What Rights Do Employees Have Against Retaliation?
It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee who has filed a claim against the employer for harassment or discrimination.
Federal laws like the Whistleblower Protection Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act offer specific protections for employees reporting certain types of misconduct like fraud. In fact, whistleblower laws legally protect employees even if they are not in a class normally protected by discrimination statutes.
Employees who have experienced workplace retaliation should have access to legal recourse. Employees have the right to consult an employment attorney and pursue legal action. Moreover, employees may be able to seek reinstatement, back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, and injunctive relief.
Employees subjected to workplace retaliation can also file a complaint with the EEOC or OSHA. An experienced employment attorney will be able to help employees evaluate the strength of their case and guide them through the process.
Things to Consider
Retaliation laws may also protect employees who have asked for reasonable workplace accommodations. Even if the employee’s initial complaint turns out to be incorrect, the employee is generally protected so long as he or she had a good-faith belief that the reported conduct was unlawful. However, if an employee opposes an employer’s decision on moral or ethical grounds, the employee is generally are not protected by the retaliation laws.
An employee taking legal action will have to prove that he or she participated in a protected activity and that the employer’s adverse actions were in direct response to that activity.
What Rights Do Employees Have? Consult Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC
You work hard and deserve to be treated fairly in the workplace. Unfortunately, employees can find themselves facing discrimination, harassment, bullying, and a hostile work environment that threatens their job security and peace of mind.
At Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC, we will use our extensive experience as lawyer employees inside companies to vigorously pursue your employment claim. Contact us if you’re wondering, “What rights do employees have against retaliation?”