What is it?
Sometimes employees notice things in the workplace that appear unlawful and the employee informs the employer. Informing an employer may take on many forms, e.g., threatening to file a complaint, complaining to management or others about the discrimination, or refusing to engage in discriminatory action. Most of the time employers do the right thing and stop the discrimination (e.g. the sexual harassment, racial or gender discrimination) or other actions that violate public policy. However, some employers take action against the employee that reported the problem instead. Taking action against an employee as retaliation may include firing or demoting the employee, or reducing the employee’s work hours. Even if the underlying claim of discrimination or other action against public policy is unsuccessful or is dismissed, the retaliation claim may move forward and succeed.
What is the consequence?
Federal and state law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for alerting the employer to discriminatory action. Some remedies the employee may seek include:
- Lost wages and benefits the employee would have received had the retaliation not occurred.
- Pay the employee should receive until the employee is reinstated or secures a position with comparable pay.
- Additional money to compensate the employee for the emotional distress suffered as a result of the retaliatory action by the employer.
- Additional money may be awarded to the employee when the employer acts in a willful, malicious or oppressive manner against the employee.
- Attorney fees for the costs of securing an attorney to fight the case and win.
For more information about unlawful retaliation in the workplace, contact Triquetra Law at: 717-299-6300.