Workplace Retaliation

Employment Laws | The Vegas Lawyers

Workplace Retaliation Lawyer in Las Vegas

What the Law Says About Workplace Retaliation

Many employees avoid acting in the face of discrimination (like filing a complaint) because they fear workplace retaliation.  If you’re in this type of situation, you need to understand that retaliation against you for exercising certain rights is a prohibited employment action.   

Retaliation in the workplace is unlawful.  It’s a form of discrimination and intimidation used against an employee by their employer, a labor organization, or an employment agency.

The retaliation can be taken against a legally covered/protected individual – such as an employee or job applicant.  An employer or agency takes action against these individuals because they engaged in an activity that they are legally entitled to, such as filing a discrimination claim or participating in an investigation into workplace misconduct.

Workplace retaliation is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (commonly referred to as “Title VII”).  A higher-up – including CEOs, employers, managers, and supervisors – cannot legally retaliate against an employee or job applicant for reporting illegal activity or standing up against illegal practices, including various types of discrimination.  

What Does Workplace Retaliation Look Like?

If you file a discrimination claim against your employer/supervisor, and they do any of the following, you may be eligible to file a retaliation claim.

  • You were reprimanded
  • You received a lower performance evaluation
  • You’ve been transferred to a different, less desirable position
  • You were at the receiving end of physical or verbal abuse
  • Your boss threatens to report you or does in fact report you to the authorities (contacting police or reporting your immigration status)
  • Increased performance or personal scrutiny
  • Your family is treated poorly
  • False rumors about you are spread through the workplace or community
  • Purposefully making work more difficult (changing your schedule so they conflict with your family responsibilities)

What Constitutes “Protected Activity” and Protected Individuals?

People who are protected against retaliatory action in the workplace include:

  • Someone who filed a complaint/claim against the employer or entity
  • Anyone who supports the person who filed the claim
  • Employees
  • Families of employees who can be on the receiving end of the retaliation
  • Job applicants

Protected activity includes:

  • Filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) claim
  • Filing a claim with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (“NERC”)
  • Being a witness in an investigation or lawsuit
  • Communicating your concerns to HR, a supervisor, or manager
  • Answering questions during an investigation
  • Resisting sexual advances or protecting others from unwanted advances
  • Requesting disability or religious accommodations
  • Requesting information pertaining to discriminatory wage practices

How Do You Prove a Claim of Retaliation?

It’s your responsibility to prove retaliation.  You need to show that the company punished you in some fashion after you reported an incident of discrimination or harassment.

Ideally, the action taken against you needs to have happened within a reasonable amount of time – a week or two after your complaint, versus months or years.

Policy Evidence

A policy in the workplace can be retaliatory.  For example, if there is a policy in place that new mothers are not allowed to work full-time, that can constitute retaliation against women.  The policy can be used as evidence in court.

Disparate Evidence

Disparate evidence is proof of cause and effect. If you can show that you were treated poorly or your employment was terminated after filing a complaint with human resources, then you have disparate evidence, which can be used in your case against your employer.

Direct Evidence

Often, direct evidence is referred to as the “smoking gun.” It is the type of evidence that is the most damning, but it is also the most difficult to procure.

Direct evidence includes written or verbal communication that states you have been punished for reporting your employer. The communication can directly or indirectly state why the action was taken against you.

The Process Of Filing A Claim – What You Need to Know

The first step you need to take is to gather your evidence.  You should document everything:

  • The action taken against you
  • Everyone involved
  • Witnesses (full names and contact information is helpful)
  • When/where the incident occurred
  • Any written evidence of the incident that can prove retaliation

The EEOC requires that you file a claim with them within 300 days of the incident.  Sexual harassment and whistleblower claims are somewhat different and the EEOC allows a longer time limit on filing these types of claims.

Once you’ve filed your claim, it can take anywhere from four months to a year, sometimes longer for the EEOC to investigate and make a decision.  If you and your employer can negotiate a fair settlement, the case can settle in less time.  However, if they refuse negotiations, it will take at least a year to prepare for a trial, fight your case, and receive a judgment.

Potential Awards

As a victim of workplace retaliation, you’re entitled to justice.  If you win your case, the courts can award you one or more of the following:

  • Employment, salary, schedule, and position reinstatement
  • Reimbursement of expenses and legal fees
  • A review and overhaul of discriminatory practices and policies
  • Back pay
  • Future pay
  • Payment for emotional distress, pain, and suffering
  • Punitive damages if the facts warrant it

Protect Your Rights with Help from The Vegas Lawyers

When you ‘ve endured prohibited discrimination, harassment, or intimidation in the workplace, you have a right to compensation.  Filing a complaint against your employer will not only protect your interests, but it will help others who face potential discrimination as well.  Dealing with retaliation can be demoralizing and stressful.  You don’t need to go it alone.  Having the right legal team by your side can make a huge difference.   

702-707-7000

The legal team at The Vegas Lawyers will help you through the entire process. With years of experience, our diverse, compassionate team will help you feel comfortable, confident, and secure from start to finish.  We also have a track record of success before the EEOC/NERC and the courts that will make you comfortable that you’re in good hands.  Contact us today at (702) 707-7000 or get in touch with us through our online chat.

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