Retaliation is an act made against an employee as an effort to punish him or her for exercising one or more of his or her rights. Specifically, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 lists a set of activities designated as "protected activities." An employer cannot retaliate against an employee in any way for engaging in these activities, which include discussing experienced of workplace discrimination, filing workplace discrimination claims, participating in peaceful protests, and whistleblowing, the act of notifying upper management, industry regulators, the government, or the media of wrongdoing at a company. If you experience retaliation from your employer, discuss your case with an experienced employment lawyer.
Recognizing Retaliation in the Workplace
Pay close attention to why things happen in your workplace. Sometimes, a termination for "poor performance" is actually a termination for filing a sexual harassment claim. When the cause and effect you experience in your workplace do not seem to add up, you could be facing retaliation. Other examples of retaliation include:
- Refusing to promote an employee who provided testimony to support a colleague's discrimination claim;
- In a downsizing, specifically laying off all the employees who joined a labor union;
- Leaving an employee out of important meetings, altering his or her workload, and otherwise pushing him or her to resign after he or she takes unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act; and
- After a protest over working conditions, giving all participants negative performance reviews.
Sometimes, retaliation does not occur until months, even years, after an employee acts in a manner that upsets his or her employer. But this does not matter - if the employee faced retaliation after engaging in a protected activity, he or she has the right to file a retaliation claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
What to Do if you Face Retaliation in your Workplace
Take note of the circumstances surrounding the retaliation. These could be poor performance reviews leading up to a termination despite your actual strong performance or a notable difference in treatment by supervisors. Have a file with your evidence to support your claim. After the retaliatory treatment, start working with an employment lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options and rights.
Work with an Experienced Tulsa Employment Lawyer
Our team of experienced employment lawyers at Frasier, Frasier & Hickman LLP can help you pursue your retaliation claim and seek compensation for the damages you suffered. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation with us.