Retaliation in the workplace in Philadelphia is when an employee is “punished” for reporting an employer or supervisors for breaking the law. This is also known as an adverse employment action. Reporting an employer, supervisor, manager, CEO , or other employee for illegal actions, such as discrimination, criminal activity, or sexual harassment is a protected action under Title VII of the Civil rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, The Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance, and so many more federal and local laws. For the past 25 years, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped victims of workplace retaliation, like you, get the justice they deserve.
Retaliation in the workplace in Philadelphia occurs when an employer, supervisor, manager, CEO, or even fellow co-worker “punishes; you because you reported bad behavior to HR or the proper authorities or stood up against the bad behavior. The punishment is also called an adverse employment action. These types of actions can include:
- Pay reduction
- Derogatory comments or creating a hostile work environment
- Changing of hours
- Changing job duties or job assignments
- Refusal to give earned bonuses or commissions
- Negative performance reviews
- Poor work evaluations
- Refusal of earned benefits
In order to prove retaliation in Philadelphia, you must prove that the punishment, or adverse employment action, was directly related to you reporting wrongdoing or standing up to it. For instance, if you say no to your supervisor’s sexual advances and then within the next week you get written up for stepping away from your desk for too long, you may be able to prove this was an act of retaliation. There are three ways to prove retaliation in the workplace.
- Direct Evidence. Direct evidence may also be called, “the smoking gun.” It is rare to have direct evidence because most employers try to hide doing what they know is wrong or illegal. However, it does occur and can be extremely helpful to your case. This is when an employer or supervisor directly states, either verbally or in writing, that you are being punished because you reported an incident or stood up against wrongdoing. Even if the statement is not stated directly to you or you see an email intended for another person, this is direct evidence and can put an end to the potential defenses.
- Disparate Evidence. This is much more common in the world of retaliation. This type of evidence shows a direct correlation between you reporting wrongdoing or refusing to participate in it and the punishment you received. It shows the cause and effect relationship. This can occur in several ways. For instance, if you agreed to testify against your employer in a lawsuit and then, within 3 days, were written up for failing to turn your computer off at night, this can be an example of disparate evidence, especially if you can show you have never turned your computer off, not have you ever been written up for it and no other employee has ever been written up for it.
- Policy Evidence. Policy evidence is often produced when an employer does not know a policy can be illegal to enforce. For instance, if an employee who decides to stand with his or her union and strikes is fired as a result of a policy that states anyone who strikes with the union can and will be fired, the policy is retaliatory and illegal. Producing this policy as evidence of retaliation can help your case.
Workplace retaliation in Philadelphia can take many forms. Whether an employee is written up, terminated, demoted, or even harassed, it can all fall under retaliation. Here are some examples of workplace retaliation in Philadelphia:
• A union employee is terminated because he agreed to strike with other union employees.
• An employee is written up for being 3 minutes late to work even though she has been 3 minutes late for work in the past and neither she nor other employees have ever been written up for being less than 5 minutes late for work. Meanwhile, just 2 days prior, she told her bosses she was pregnant and expecting her first child in 5 months.
• An employee agreed to testify against his supervisor and in favor of his colleague in a sexual harassment trial. Three days later, he was demoted to a job with less hours and a lower pay rate.
• An employee refused to shred evidence as instructed by his supervisor. The following week, during his employee review, he was denied a raise and was told he was on probation.
• A job applicant was asked during an interview if she would be OK with filing claims with Medicare for an amount the doctors choose, not the approved pay scale amounts. The job applicant said no and was denied the employment opportunity.
• An employer tried to deny a new father FMLA leave to bond with his adopted child. The employee appealed the denial and won. The employer then terminated the employee.
• A new mother informed her employer that she can still work her scheduled hours, however, she cannot come in early because she cannot obtain childcare any earlier. The employer changed her shift to working an hour earlier every day.
• A fellow co-worker is making crude comments to an employee because he reported a supervisor to HR for discrimination.
• An employer calls ICE on his employee because the employee reported the supervisor to authorities for filing false insurance claims.
• An employer files a lawsuit against an employee because the employee reported the employer to HR for sexual harassment.
The time limit to file a claim for retaliation in the workplace is based on the law the employer violated. For instance, if the retaliation is based on an Equal Employer Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claim, you have 300 days to file your claim with the EEOC. However, if the claim is based on a whistleblower claim, you have 180 days to file a complaint. Depending on the reason for the retaliation and the law it violated, you may have anywhere from 180 days to 3 years or more to file your claim.
If you are the victim of workplace retaliation in Philadelphia, you are entitled to compensation and justice. You may receive the following relief from the courts:
• Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
• Reimbursement of benefit premiums
• Reinstatement of position, salary, and/or hours
• Termination of employee or supervisor responsible for retaliation
• Review and revamp the employee policies and procedures
• Back pay
• Future pay
• Attorney’s fees
• Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional distress
• Punitive damages
A workplace retaliation lawsuit in Philadelphia can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to 1 year or longer to resolve. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement, your case may be resolved within 4 to 6 months. However, if your employer refuses to negotiate in good faith or wishes to go to trial, preparation for trial can last a year or longer while trying the case may last an additional few days to several weeks before a judgment is entered.
If you are the victim of workplace retaliation, there are a few things you can do to help prepare for filing a lawsuit.
- Contact an experienced retaliation attorney immediately.
- If you have not been fired, do not quit your job until speaking to an attorney.
- If your company has an HR department, report the treatment to HR.
- If your company has the policy to handle retaliation, follow it.
- Gather evidence. Include any communications and incidents that lead up to the retaliation. Not every incident, when and where it occurred, who was involved, and any witnesses you may have.
- Do not waste time. Your window to file a lawsuit is short. Do not waste time contacting an attorney to get started with the process.
Contact Our Experienced Philadelphia Workplace Retaliation Attorneys for a Free Consultation
It is imperative that employers retain employees that are willing to do the right thing. These employees are protected so that they set an example to other employees that it is essential to do the right thing. No employee should be punished for standing up for what is legal and just. If you have been the victim of workplace retaliation in Philadelphia, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (215) 391-4790 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.