How to Prove Retaliation in the Workplace | Labor and Employment Attorney

In the American workplace, you have a right to complain about unlawful or illegal activity, without dealing with retaliation in the workplace from your boss. Unlawful or illegal activities include: harassment and discrimination. 

That’s right. Your employer cannot do anything about it. If they try to punish you for it, then you can sue pursuant to a “retaliation” claim. If your employer chooses to take action against you for reporting harassment, mistreatment, discrimination, or the like, you could have a retaliation case on your hands. These claims can be complicated and confusing, so you should consult a lawyer to discuss your legal options. An  experienced employment lawyer can help evaluate a retaliation case and assist you in documenting and providing evidence to support your claim.

Topics and questions this article will help you to answer:

What is workplace retaliation | What makes a strong retaliation case | Evidence to support your claim | Documentation needed to defend retaliation claims | Signs of retaliation at work | How to document retaliation at work | Find an Employment Lawyer to Help in a Retaliation Claim

What is Workplace Retaliation?

Retaliation in the workplace is defined as an employer that takes adverse actions against an employee, because the employee reported an incident, served as a witness, or participated in an investigation about an unlawful employment practice. An example of adverse actions against an employee is when a boss punishes a worker.

For a retaliation claim, three essential elements exist: 

  1. Protected Activity
  2. Adverse Action
  3. Causal Connection

Protected Activity

Filing or participating in the complaint process.  

Adverse action

Includes promotion denial, reduction in benefits or pay, threats, and harassment. 

Causal Connection

Evidence an employer took an action against the employee who reported the incident.

What Makes a Strong Retaliation Case?

In order to succeed in proving retaliation, you’ll have to prove the following: 

  • You experienced harassment or discrimination  
  • You reported the unlawful behavior to HR  
  • Your employer engaged in an adverse employment action as a result 

Whether your original claim of harassment or discrimination was “true” is irrelevant. All that matters for retaliation is that your employer punished you for complaining or reporting those problems.

Putting together a strong case requires documentation needed to defend retaliation claims, including:

  • What occurred
  • When it happened
  • How long it’s been going on
  • Who was involved, and
  • The outcome

Evidence that Matters in a Workplace Retaliation Case

The evidence you can provide in a workplace retaliation case is key to advancing your legal claim. To help substantiate the claim, you will need as many documents as possible. They will also help to connect the dots for your lawyer, and for the opposing side, too.

Evidence varies, but to help support your workplace retaliation case, consider the following:

  • Emails 
  • Voicemails 
  • Text messages 
  • Witness corroboration  
  • Notes and letters 
  • Recorded conversations

When it comes to recordings, be careful. In some jurisdictions, it is illegal to record people without their consent. You’ll want to consult your attorney about what evidence you can use, and what evidence will have to be “thrown out.”

What Retaliatory Behavior Looks Like

There are many different ways in which an employer can retaliate against an employee. Some of the signs of retaliation at work are: 

  • Harassment 
  • Racism 
  • Discrimination  
  • Demotion  
  • Reduction in hours or benefits  
  • Threats  
  • Exclusion or being left out  
  • Bullying  
  • Passed over for a promotion or raise  
  • Reassignment to a different department  
  • Pay cuts  
  • Being fired 

Some workplace environments can be toxic, which pushes employees to take outside legal action. This is especially important if the employee faced retaliatory action for reporting unlawful behavior. Post retaliation, the employee should speak to a lawyer who can evaluate their case and guide them on next steps.

How to Document Retaliation at Work

To gather evidence to create a strong workplace retaliation case, follow the steps below: 

  1. Be certain you have documented the incident with your attorney.
  2. Keep a record of everything.

Be Certain You Have Documented the Incident with Your Labor Law and Employment Attorney

Though your attorney can help with this process, make sure you have reported the issue to your employer and to the HR department. For example, you can file a complaint, send an email to HR, or involve a third party. Anything that will help to prove your case will be useful here. Make sure your employer is aware of the situation. Include them in emails, send them a copy of the report you are filing, and confirm that you have proof that retaliatory action was taken.   

Keep a Record of Everything

At some point, you may not have access to your work-issued laptop or other equipment. As such, it is useful to save a copy, digital or physical. Do be careful about recording anyone without their consent, as many states have laws against doing so.  

HR departments have a responsibility to avoid unlawful behavior. That being said, if your claim goes unresolved, an employment lawyer can get you the legal assistance you need. An employee discrimination lawyer understands the repercussions of retaliation and can make sure the behavior and activity no longer persists.   

Find an Employment Lawyer to Help in a Retaliation Claim 

If you believe that you’ve been retaliated against by your employer, then it’s a good idea to contact an experienced employment lawyer who can handle your case. We encourage you to get started as soon as possible. 

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 today for a free and confidential consultation. We’ll get you connected to an attorney in just 10 minutes or less. 

Examples of Retaliation at Work | Retaliation Attorney

Workplace retaliation takes many forms, and knowing what examples of retaliation at work looks like can help you identify these types of scenarios, report suspicious behaviors, and protect yourself legally.

The law, both state and federal, protects employees against harassment, sexism, racism, and discrimination. The law goes further, however, and also protects employees against punishment for complaining and reporting on these unlawful activities. Employers do NOT have the right to punish employees for exercising their rights in reporting unlawful behaviors and activities, known as “retaliation.” If you’ve faced retaliation at work, then you may have a right to sue your employer for damages.

Common Types of Retaliation at Work

Workplace retaliation covers a very wide range of conduct between employers and employees and takes on many different forms. Some types of retaliation occur more often and more frequently than others.

Below are some common forms of retaliation at work that impact office and other professional environments:

Termination or Demotion

Termination or demotion. This is when an employee feels as if their job has been taken away from them or they have been moved to a lesser role or position because they spoke out or reported a concern.

Low or Negative Performance Evaluations

Low or negative performance evaluations. Sometimes, an employer will target an employee with a performance evaluation that is very low or negative, preventing them from being chosen for a promotion or a pay raise.

Changing or Adverse Work Hours, Schedules, or Locations

Changing or adverse work hours, schedules, or locations. When an employee has reported an issue or concern, the employer may try to retaliate by changing the employee’s work location, giving more or less hours, or disrupting the schedule so the employee cannot perform.

Reduction in Wages or Benefits

Reduction in wages or benefits. Sometimes, employers choose to play with an employee’s salary, paycheck frequency, or benefits. Employees might see a reduction in wages, lack of reimbursement, or holiday hours not being covered. Removal or reduction in benefits such as health coverage is also a form of retaliation at work.

Transition to a Less Favorable Position

Transition to a less favorable position. Let’s say that you wear a hijab to work but your manager tells you that it makes customers or other employees in the office feel uncomfortable. It is part of your religious beliefs and so you file a claim. Later, you find yourself being pushed into a less favorable position.

Harassment, Abuse, or Bullying

Harassment. Perhaps, a manager, supervisor, or coworker continuously makes sexual innuendoes or advancements to you. After you tell them to stop and report it to your HR department, you find a notice of termination on your desk when you arrive the next day and all of your office items already packed for you.

Verbal abuse, threats, harassment, and similar actions that are unpleasant or make for a toxic workplace environment may constitute retaliation as well. You can identify areas and examples of retaliation at work where there may be an issue with an already hostile environment by paying attention to conversations, reading agreements, and also reading the room to get a feel for what is going on. Ask questions of your coworkers to determine whether they are experiencing the same issues as you.

What Documentation Looks Like for a Retaliation Case

Retaliation claims can be complex, so it’s important to keep extensive records. After all, the success of your case will likely center around the evidence.

Document what happened in the very first incident. You can write it out in a report that you share with management and the HR department. Note the date, timeline, people involved, employer’s actions, employee’s actions, and anything else that may be useful in pursuing your case.

Note the actions that were taken as part of the retaliation for engaging in reporting activity or incident. Identifying what happened, who was involved or issued the retaliatory offense, and the timelines associated with it can be useful.

Research any information from company employee handbooks as well as procedures and processes for filing grievances that can be used to support the other evidence you are gathering. Using the company’s own words can help reduce the amount of time and resources expended on proving that the unlawful action happened.

Determining Retaliation at Work

Talking to an employment lawyer can clear up any confusion that you may have about your employer’s retaliatory actions. An experienced local attorney can not only help you to develop your case and file your claims, but also guide you through complex and ever-changing dynamics of litigation.

Depending on the form of retaliation, you may qualify for compensation related to income lost due to termination, role reduction, or hours and benefits losses. Damages calculations are fundamental to a lawyer’s services, so consult your attorney for an assessment. More accurate damages calculations take time (as significant evidence has to be procured, and the employer’s arguments have to be presented, too).

Find a Retaliation Lawyer with 1-800-THE-LAW2 to Help in a Retaliation or Employment Claim

If you believe that you are the victim of retaliation at work, it is important to contact an experienced employment or retaliation lawyer who can handle your case. Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 today for a free and confidential consultation. We’ll get you connected to a qualified attorney in just 10 minutes or less.

Take Action Against Wrongful Termination Because of Covid-19 | Employment and Labor Law Attorneys

The pandemic has lasted for more than two years, but with medical advances and new variants reducing the severity of Covid-19 illness, employers have started to take the virus less seriously. Employees are increasingly realizing that they could face wrongful termination for having to quarantine or taking time off due to getting sick from Covid-19

Fortunately, under some circumstances, getting fired for having Covid-19 can give rise to a legal claim against your employer. This may be a bit difficult to understand, so let’s explore some basic issues. 

Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation with a labor law attorney today.

Topics and questions this article can help to answer:

Did You Face Wrongful Termination for Covid?

Can you get fired for having Covid? As the pandemic slowly normalizes, workers are increasingly finding that their employers are pressuring them to work despite getting Covid. Sometimes, a particularly “bad” employer will threaten to fire, or unfairly dismiss, employees who get Covid and decide not to come into work. This is unacceptable behavior. 

If you experienced unfair dismissal from Covid or were fired for having to take time off to recover from being sick, then your employer could potentially be found liable for wrongful termination for Covid. But, only if you don’t have medical days left to take off. 

Covid, Wrongful Termination And FMLA Leave

It’s important to understand that the United States does not actively protect sick workers from the bad behavior of their employers, even if they have an infectious disease, such as: Coronavirus. You can only claim wrongful termination for covid or unfair dismissal if your employer illegally fired you when you still had medical leave, as this is considered a violation of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

If you already used up your annual medical leave, however, then your employer is legally entitled to fire you for missing work due to Covid.

Find the best lawyer for wrongful termination for Covid near you.

Covid Discrimination At Work

That being said, all is not lost. If you were fired due to getting Covid, it is possible that other workers did not face wrongful termination despite getting Covid-19. And, it’s also possible that these employees have no medical leave. In that case, you may be able to show that you were wrongfully terminated for retaliation or some other discriminatory reason, such as your age, gender, race, religion, and so on. This in turn, would entitle you to a lawsuit against your employer for discrimination or retaliatory behavior.

Taking Time Off From Work For Covid

It’s also worth noting that even if you have no Medical Leave left at work, if your employment contract gives you the right to take time off due to Covid-19, your employer cannot violate that right. They could be found liable for wrongful termination for Covid, in that case.

Find a labor lawyer near you.

Can I Sue My Employer If I Get Covid?

This is an important and common question: can you sue your employer if you get sick with Covid on the job? It depends. First, in order to successfully sue your employer for damages, you would have to show that you suffered losses due to Covid. If you were not severely ill, or otherwise didn’t suffer any major, long-term consequences, then you may not even have any losses to claim as damages in a lawsuit. 

For example, suppose that you get Covid while at work. You get sick for 4-5 days, and the illness is relatively minor. You don’t experience any long-term effects as a result of being sick. Under these circumstances, there are no real losses to claim. 

Can I Sue A Company For Putting Me At Risk For Long Term Covid?

Let’s assume that you do have long term losses. Perhaps your experience with Covid was severe, you have long term Covid-19, and you sustained long-term harm to your lungs. You’ve permanently lost lung capacity, and now will be unable to engage in regular exercise. Your physical and mental health are now impacted for the rest of your life. Under these circumstances, you could potentially sue your employer for damages. However, you would still have to show that your employer is at fault for exposing you to a heightened risk of Covid. 

Covid Negligence Lawsuit

Whether your employer exposed you to a heightened risk of getting Covid depends on a number of circumstantial facts. For example, if your employer pressures your co-workers to come into work even when they’re sick, that would potentially be enough to find them liable. If your employer is negligent, doesn’t provide masks, or discourages employees from wearing masks at work, that could also be enough to find them liable.

Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation with a labor law attorney today.

Were You Fired Illegally During the Covid-19 Pandemic?

If you’ve been fired from your job due to you getting sick with Covid-19, or in some way related to protocols for Covid-19, then you may have a right to sue your employer for damages. In certain cases, a Covid firing may qualify as wrongful termination, and is against the law.

Covid-related legal actions can be complex and difficult to understand. For that reason, it’s critical that you work with a wrongful termination lawyer who can help you navigate the legal dispute effectively. 

Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Consultation

Call 1800THELAW2 for a free and confidential consultation. We’ll get you connected to one of our experienced network attorneys for accident or injury cases in just 10 minutes or less.

What Happens If an Employer Does Not Report an Accident in a Timely Manner?

Getting hurt at work or suffering a work-related illness or repetitive use injury is serious business. You know it is, and your employer should see it that way too. In fact, the law instructs them to do so by setting specific requirements forth for them to follow. It’s your responsibility to report your workplace illness or injury to your employer as soon as possible. However, some workers don’t make a report right away because they didn’t notice their injury initially or didn’t think their injury was severe enough to warrant making a report. 

Questions this article can help you answer:

When Should You Report a Workplace Injury? 

Any workplace accident or injury should be reported to your employer as soon as possible. Since doing so is a crucial step in any potential workers’ compensation claim, it shouldn’t be skipped. If you report your injury, it turns out to be mild, and you don’t want to pursue a workers’ comp claim, you don’t have to. It’s better to report the injury or accident and not need the report than not to report it and have missed a critical deadline or step. 

How Long Do You Have to Report a Workplace Injury?

Workers’ comp laws and guidelines vary from one state to the next and even between employers, making it imperative to report accidents and injuries as soon as possible. Some employers even have a 24-hour deadline. If you don’t make a good faith effort to report what happened as quickly as possible, your employer or their insurance company can say that your injury didn’t occur at work or wasn’t work-related.  

For instance, suppose you hurt your back by lifting heavy boxes at work. You’re in pain, but your injury doesn’t seem serious at the time, so you don’t report it to your employer. Your pain becomes more intense within a few days, and you have difficulty moving around. You go to your doctor and are diagnosed with a serious back injury that requires time off of work. In that case, your employer or their insurance company may deny your workers’ comp claim because the incident wasn’t reported immediately. 

What About Overuse Injuries? 

Some injuries occur over time and don’t arise from a one-time incident or accident. Carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, can occur due to overuse and repetitive movements of the hand and wrist at work. There is no one incident to report. However, the employer should report what is going on as soon as they suspect there is a problem or they receive a diagnosis. The same goes for workplace illnesses. If you suffer an illness that you suspect arose out of your employment, report it as soon as you know or suspect there is a correlation. 

When Should a Workplace Injury Be Reported?

Injury and Accident Reporting Procedures 

All workers’ compensation claims are no-fault claims. As such, neither you nor your employer is at fault for your injuries. It doesn’t matter if there was negligence. You still have the right to receive compensation for your injuries. In addition, state and federal protections are in place to protect you from potential employer retaliation.  

Once you report your injury, the process of getting the medical treatment and compensation you deserve should speed up. When you report your injury, your employer should assist you in completing a detailed injury report to ensure you get the help you need. 

However, if your employer doesn’t ask you for further details about your accident or injury or that you complete any paperwork, such a lack of action can be seen as a red flag. It might mean that they don’t intend to report your injury officially. 

What Happens If an Employer Does Not Report an Accident? 

Once you report your injury, accident, or illness to your employer, it becomes their responsibility to report it to your state Department of Labor. You can’t report it yourself; however, you can take steps to ensure that your employer does. Suppose you find out that they haven’t reported it or don’t plan on reporting it. In that case, you need to act quickly and contact an experienced employment law attorney who can help. If your employer did not report an injury in a timely manner, it could impact your claim, but they can also face the consequences. 

What Is the Workers Compensation 90-Day Rule? 

While workers’ comp laws and systems differ between states, the workers’ compensation 90 day rule generally refers to an employer having 90 days to determine if they will accept an employee’s injury claim. Typically, within 14 days of receiving an illness or injury claim form, the employer must decide if they will accept, reject, or delay a decision regarding an industrial injury claim.

Who Pays for on the Job Injuries?

If the workers compensation claim is delayed, the employer has 90 days to decide what to do. The good news is that even during this delay, they must furnish up to $10,000 worth of medical care to the injured worker. 

State Disability Insurance and Wage Loss

If an employee can’t work because of the injury, and they pay into the State Disability Insurance (SDI) system, or they have other disability policy through work, they should apply for these benefits to use at this time. The employer isn’t required to pay temporary disability benefits for wage loss during the delay period.

If, after 90 days, the employer still hasn’t made a decision, most states will presume that the claim is accepted and the injury is compensable. Most states uphold this rule. Furthermore, the courts won’t allow an appeal unless new evidence is presented.  

What Are My Rights If I Have an Accident at Work?

Get Help With Your Workers’ Comp Claim Today 

If you recently filed a worker’s compensation claim, you must know your rights. One of these rights is to have your claim handled in a timely manner in accordance with state and federal laws. If your claim isn’t being addressed in this way, it’s essential to have a knowledgeable advocate on your side to fight for your rights. Get a free consultation by phone with an employment attorney consultation by completing our form now. A locally licensed lawyer will call you within ten minutes to discuss your circumstances.  

Our experienced attorneys are ready to help you with your case. You have nothing to lose by reaching out for a FREE consultation. Call us today! 

Reporting Unfair Treatment at Work | Employment Discrimination Lawyer

All employees in America have the right to do their job in a safe environment, free from unfair treatment at work. Unfortunately, not all employers live up to this expectation. Instead of providing equal treatment in the workplace, employers often disrespect and discriminate against their employees. At times, they overlook qualified employees for promotions, and even, engage in sexual or workplace harassment. 

It’s important to understand that these actions are unacceptable, and possibly illegal. If you experience harassment or discrimination in the workplace, then you may have a claim for damages under law. 

Let’s take a closer look. 

How do you tell if you are being treated unfairly at work?

The scope and scale of unfair workplace treatment is vast. Any behavior that seems questionable, disturbing, or that makes you feel uncomfortable should result in an investigation. 

Mistreatment, even by a colleague, is a common occurrence and a demoralizing experience. Thousands of employees everyday, face harassment, discrimination, and other illegal job-related actions across the United States. You don’t have to stay a victim. Take steps to report the issue and secure your rights under the law.

Examples of Being Treated Unfairly at Work 

Unfair treatment at any place of employment can express itself in many different ways, from wage discrimination to gender inequality, favoritism, violence, workplace bullying, and verbal abuse. Signs of mistreatment are:

  • Discrimination due to race, gender, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic 
  • Spreading false rumors 
  • Pay disparities despite equal qualifications and experience 
  • Refusing reasonable accommodations for disabled employees 
  • Any instances of sexual harassment 
  • Punishing those who take parental leave by docking pay or terminating employment 
  • Laying off older workers to hire new, younger employees at lower pay 
  • Facing employer retaliation after resignation or reporting unfair treatment 
  • Being wrongfully terminated without reason 
  • Forced to work in unsafe conditions

What do you do if you are mistreated at work?

Many workplaces have a formal complaint system for these issues. To ensure that documented evidence exists of a formal complaint, it is important to report any problematic actions that happen on the job. Usually, this step of reporting unacceptable or unprofessional behavior happens with your manager or Human Resources. 

That being said, we encourage you to get in touch with a qualified attorney as soon as possible, even better if you do it before submitting the complaint. A labor and employment attorney can help you submit a well-documented report. Should the situation evolve into a lawsuit, you will then have a stronger case. 

Document the Event 

  1. If you received mistreatment, the first step is: document the event as thoroughly as possible. Record the date, time, details, and names of everyone involved. Do the same for subsequent cases, if and when they occur. Document the information during or directly after the event so the details are as accurate as possible. 
  2. Next, save copies of memos or emails that exhibit illegal or unfair practices.
  3. To support your claim, the last step is: ask witnesses to record their observations of what happened to support your claim. 

All additional evidence you gather can help your eventual legal case. It is not uncommon to file a lawsuit against an employer, so don’t be nervous. This is your right. 

File a Complaint with Human Resources (HR)

Report instances of unfair treatment to the Human Resources Department (or another authority figure in management). The formal letter of complaint should describe the event completely, but concisely. Stay on target and include only information relevant to the event. Alerting HR to the problem is usually a required step if you plan to later file a lawsuit

How to Write a Formal Complaint Letter

In the formal complaint letter, you may:

  • Identify helpful actions that can lead to a resolution.
  • Refrain from making threats or getting angry.
  • Keep a calm demeanor and offer reasonable solutions where appropriate.  

If the complaint ends up becoming a legal matter, any poor behavior on your part could be used against you. As such, it’s important to consult an experienced attorney for guidance before you file a complaint.

File an EEOC Complaint

An employee that has been subject to any type of job discrimination or mistreatment may also file an EEOC complaint. The EEOC, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accepts complaints filed in person or by mail with the nearest office. In addition to victims, witnesses of unfair treatment can also file a formal complaint. 

Include the following information in your documentation: 

  • Personal details of the person mistreated. Include their full name, number, and address. 
  • Name and contact information for the employer the complaint is against.
  • Description of the unfair events and the dates they happened.

To prevent the situation from escalating further, speak up. If you feel like your complaint is not being addressed, or that you can’t speak with management at your work, talk with an employment attorney for legal advice on how to proceed. 

How to Sue a Company for Unfair Treatment 

Not all situations that are “unfair” are actually illegal. So, it is important to know what is employee mistreatment is within Employment Law and At Will Employment.

For example, you were passed over for a promotion or assigned to a different shift. These events are frustrating, but they do not necessarily qualify as discrimination.

At Will Employment States

Not all states are at will employment states. For those that are, employers can fire employees without notice or reason. Some exceptions apply, like if an employer violates an employment contract or state or federal employment statute. 

Regardless if the state is California, Texas, or another state, there’s some behavior that employers cannot express. One example of this is: discrimination based on protected characteristics. Your state may include additional protections beyond federally mandated requirements, so it is important to know the laws in your state. To learn your states’ labor laws, read compliance guidelines and ask the appropriate authorities questions. 

Contact Our Experienced Labor Attorneys for a Free Consultation 

If you’ve faced unfair treatment in the workplace, you should seek the counsel of an experienced employment and labor attorney to discuss your concerns. A lawyer will be able to help you decide whether you should file a lawsuit and assess the likelihood of success. 

Experienced attorneys also have the knowledge and expertise necessary to advise you on the best course of action. They can guide you through the litigation process, help collect necessary documentation, and improve your chances of winning the lawsuit. 

Know your rights and don’t settle for being mistreated. 

Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free and confidential consultation with an attorney in our network. We’ll connect you in just 10 minutes or less