Reporting Retaliation: Steps to Take When Faced with Employer Retaliation
Employer retaliation is a serious issue that can occur when an employee asserts their legal rights or reports misconduct in the workplace. Retaliation can take many forms, including adverse actions such as demotion, termination, reduced hours, or harassment. If you believe you are facing retaliation from your employer, it’s essential to take appropriate steps to protect your rights and seek resolution. This article will outline key steps to consider when facing employer retaliation.
Understand Your Rights
Before taking any action, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your rights as an employee. Relevant laws, such as the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Whistleblower Protection Act, protect employees from retaliation in various situations. Understanding your rights under these laws will help you assess whether the actions of your employer constitute retaliation.
Document the Retaliation
To build a strong case, it’s crucial to document instances of retaliation. Keep a detailed record of dates, times, and descriptions of any adverse actions or incidents that suggest retaliation. Include any relevant documents, emails, or communication that support your claims. This documentation will serve as valuable evidence when reporting the retaliation and seeking legal recourse.
Consult with an Employment Law Attorney
Seeking the advice of an experienced employment law attorney is crucial when facing employer retaliation. An attorney specializing in employment law can evaluate your situation, assess the strength of your case, and guide you through the legal process. They can provide valuable insights into your rights, help you understand the applicable laws, and advise you on the best course of action to take.
Report the Retaliation Internally
In many cases, it is recommended to report the retaliation internally to your employer’s human resources department or another designated authority. Follow your company’s established procedures for reporting misconduct or retaliation, ensuring that you document your report and keep copies of any submitted documentation. Reporting internally provides an opportunity for your employer to address the situation and rectify the issue without escalating the matter further.
File a Complaint with the Appropriate Agency
If internal reporting does not resolve the issue or if your employer fails to take appropriate action, you may need to file a formal complaint with the appropriate government agency. Depending on the nature of the retaliation, different agencies may have jurisdiction over your case. For instance:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Handles complaints related to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, age, religion, or disability.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): Investigates retaliation claims related to workplace safety concerns and violations.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB): Deals with retaliation claims related to protected concerted activity, including collective bargaining and union organizing.
State Agencies: Many states have their own labor or human rights agencies that handle retaliation claims. Research your state’s specific agency and file a complaint accordingly.
Cooperate with Investigations
If an agency decides to investigate your retaliation complaint, cooperate fully with their process. Provide all requested documentation and information promptly and accurately. Keep a record of your interactions with the agency and any additional evidence you may gather during the investigation.
Preserve Your Employment Records
It’s crucial to preserve any relevant employment records, such as pay stubs, performance evaluations, work schedules, and emails. These records may serve as evidence in establishing a pattern of retaliation or supporting your claim of adverse actions. Make backup copies of electronic records and keep physical copies in a secure location.
Consider Legal Action
If your efforts to resolve the retaliation internally or through government agencies do not result in a satisfactory resolution, you may need to consider pursuing legal action. Your employment law attorney will guide you on the appropriate legal remedies available to you, such as filing a lawsuit against your employer for retaliation. An attorney will help you understand the strengths and challenges of your case, negotiate on your behalf, and advocate for your rights in court, if necessary.
Retaliation by employers against employees who assert their legal rights or report workplace misconduct is unlawful and should not be tolerated. If you believe you are experiencing employer retaliation, it’s essential to take immediate action to protect your rights. Consult with an employment law attorney who specializes in retaliation cases to discuss your situation and explore the best options for seeking justice and compensation.
Remember, each retaliation case is unique, and the specific steps to be taken may vary depending on the circumstances. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with an attorney who can provide personalized advice based on your situation.
Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Consult with an employment law attorney to discuss your specific situation and receive proper legal guidance.