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Workplace Retaliation


Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Lawyers Battling Retaliation in the Workplace for Over 25 Years

Workplace retaliation is an employer’s way of punishing an employee. You may try to stand up for your rights or report wrongdoing in the workplace. However, your employer may look for a way to make an example of you and scare others away from exercising their rights. As a result, you may get fired, demoted, docked pay, or punished in other ways. This practice of retaliation is illegal and prohibited by state and federal laws.

When you experience workplace retaliation, you need a lawyer to help you fight back against your employer. Your employer already tried to squash your confidence. He already tried to make you think you overstepped your rights in the workplace by speaking up against discrimination and harassment or illegal activities. You need a lawyer who will help you stand up to your employer and end this type of behavior.

What Is Retaliation in the Workplace?

Workplace retaliation occurs when an employer, supervisor, manager, or CEO punishes you for reporting wrongdoing (illegal activities) in the workplace. It also occurs when you stand up for your rights against discrimination and harassment at work.

This activity is also known as taking an adverse employment action. An adverse employment action occurs when your employer makes a negative employment decision against you, violating your rights as an employee.

What Are Some Forms of Workplace Retaliation?

Workplace retaliation comes from adverse employment actions. These actions can take many forms. However, the most common form is wrongful termination.  Nevertheless, the law may consider all the following examples of adverse employment actions or workplace retaliation:

  • Negative work evaluation
  • Salary decreases or demotion.
  • Firing or termination
  • Suspension
  • A decrease in hours usually worked within a given pay period.
  • Transfer to positions for which you are not qualified

Contact an employment discrimination lawyer to learn more about your rights regarding workplace retaliation.

What Is a Protected Activity in the Workplace?

Workplace retaliation is directly related to discrimination, harassment, and protected activities. Protected activities in the workplace are activities that allow employees to exercise their rights under federal and state laws. Some of these activities include, but are not limited to:

What Are Examples of Workplace Retaliation?

Workplace retaliation is illegal and prohibited by both state and federal laws. Some examples of workplace retaliation may include, but are not limited to:

  • Your manager demotes you because you complained to human resources about perceived racial discrimination in the office.
  • Your employer fires you for refusing his sexual advances.
  • Your supervisor gave you a bad shift because you reported her to HR for making out with another employee.
  • You were fired for taking FMLA leave to help your dad, who has cancer.
  • You were demoted because you refused to doctor documents to increase billable hours.
  • You were suspended for two weeks without pay because you took off for the Jewish Holidays.
  • Your boss fired you for reporting illegal activity to the IRS (whistleblower retaliation).
  • Your supervisor gave you poor performance reviews because you complained to HR about sexist emails sent around the office.
  • Your manager moves you to a department for which you are not trained or qualified because you refused to go on a date with him.

A common example of workplace retaliation is the following:

Imagine you receive praise for your performance at work. You have always received exceptional performance reviews. You are on track for a promotion. After complaining about your supervisor’s racist comments to Human Resources, you are given a poor performance review. A month after the poor performance review, your employer terminates you, citing your performance as the reason for the termination.

What Rights Do I Have as a Victim of Workplace Retaliation?

If you are a victim of workplace retaliation, you have the right to fight back against your employer. You can decide whether to file your claim in federal or state court by speaking with an experienced attorney.

If you choose to file in federal court, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) gives you a 180-day time limit. The EEOC will evaluate your claim and issue a Right to Sue Letter upon approval. The Right to Sue Letter provides a statute of limitations of 90 days to file your claim in federal court.

If you choose to file in your state court, you may be able to file your claim directly with the courts.

If your retaliation is related to whistleblower activity, you may have the right to file your claim in federal court or with the proper government agency.

Consult an employment discrimination lawyer to determine your rights regarding retaliation at work.

What Remedies Are Available Through the Courts for Workplace Retaliation?

Once you file your claim, your goal is to get some relief from the courts. The courts may offer some of the following relief for your retaliation claim:

  • Reinstatement of employment and benefits
  • Reimbursement of related expenses
  • Review and revamp company policies
  • Lost pay
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive Damages

How Can an Employment Lawyer Help You with Your Workplace Retaliation Claim?

As the victim of workplace retaliation, you likely feel humiliated. You don’t think you have any rights to fight against your employer. Your employer may have successfully stopped you from fighting for your rights.

Your discrimination lawyer can help you develop your claim. They can help you gather the evidence necessary to show the workplace retaliation occurred because you exercised your rights under the law. Your attorney will help you tell your story to get the proper reaction from the courts.

Furthermore, your lawyer can help you draft the request for remedies for your claim. They can ensure the courts know the remedies you need to help you move forward from the retaliation.

Finally, your attorney will work as your advocate and negotiate with your employer to reach a fair and equitable settlement as soon as possible. They will begin the negotiation process before they even file the complaint with the proper agency or court. If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will stand by your side to advocate for your rights.

Contact Our Experienced Worker’s Compensation and Sexual Harassment Attorneys for Your Free Consultation

No one should be punished for doing what is right. Instead, your workplace should admire and reward this type of behavior.

If you are the victim of workplace retaliation, the experienced sexual harassment and employment discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group can help.

Did Your Employer Retaliate Against You for Reporting Their Wrongdoing? Did They Fire You for Standing Up Against Their Discrimination or Sexual Harassment? Please Contact Us to Learn About Your Rights Against Workplace Retaliation at 800.807.2209 or Email

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