Federal and state labor laws are designed to protect workers against retaliation by their employers. Unfortunately, many workplaces penalize employees who exercise their rights that are protected under the law. Retaliation against employees who exercise these rights is illegal. At Connor & Morneau, LLP, we fight for workers who have suffered retaliation from their employers, and our team is dedicated to helping them find the justice they deserve.
Common Reasons An Employer May Retaliate
Some common situations that may give rise to employer retaliation include:
- Refusing to commit illegal acts as suggested or directed by your employer or supervisor
- Reporting workplace discrimination or harassment
- Requesting or taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Filing for workers’ compensation benefits if you’ve been injured at work
- Filing a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claim or another type of employment claim against your employer
- Providing witness testimony in an EEOC claim or another legal case against your employer
- Participating in pro-union activity
If you’ve faced unwarranted consequences or retribution due to one of these actions, you may have a viable retaliation claim against your employer.
Types Of Employer Retaliation
Retaliation can take many forms and can be challenging to prove. However, it is possible to expose retaliatory actions taken by an employer that might deter a reasonable employee from exercising their legal rights. Being denied a promotion or pay raise are very common examples of retaliation. Other retaliatory actions may include:
- Demotion – Being assigned to a lower-ranking position or losing seniority, responsibilities, or privileges associated with your current position
- Termination – Being wrongfully let go from your position
- Salary reduction – Receiving a pay cut
- Loss of hours – A decrease in regularly scheduled hours
- Exclusion – Being intentionally left out of meetings, training, or important other job-related activities
- Reassignment – Having duties reassigned to another position or location in a way that causes undue hardship
- Poor performance reviews – Unwarranted negative performance reviews
How Our Employment Lawyers Can Help
Even if you have filed a complaint with a state employment agency or the EEOC, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer who can evaluate your case. Our employment attorneys can assist you through the process and protect your interests.
You will need to provide evidence that proves your claims of employer retaliation. It is critical to gather and keep any documentation you have to support your claim. If there are any witnesses that can attest to what happened, your attorney will want to speak with them as well. If you filed a formal complaint with your employer, make sure to keep all paperwork and evidence of it. Evidence may include letters, emails, memos, performance reviews, work schedules, pay stubs, W-2’s, and any notes you kept to document your complaint and retaliation that may have followed.
If you file a retaliation lawsuit against your employer, you will likely be pursuing monetary damages, which may include:
- Lost pay – If you can prove your employer retaliated against you because of legal action you took as an employee, you can recover the wage loss you have suffered due to demotion, a pay cut, reduction in hours, or termination. You may also be able to recover the wages you will continue to lose in the future if you are not reinstated. If you can show that the retaliation could have a negative effect on finding other work or on your career overall, you may be entitled to damages for this as well.
- Lost benefits – Health insurance, a retirement plan such as a 401(k), and bonuses are often tied to the position someone holds or the number of hours they work. If you’ve lost any benefits as a result of employer retaliation, you may be able to recover the value of those lost benefits.
- Pain and suffering – Employees who are victims of retaliation often suffer embarrassment, anger, and frustration, and may be affected by conditions such as depression and anxiety. Reputational harm is also a very real problem that can have negative consequences. Although these types of damages aren’t as easy to quantify, they can be proven with evidence such as mental health treatment records and expert testimony.
In cases involving particularly egregious behavior, you may be entitled to recover punitive damages. Our lawyers will thoroughly evaluate your case and advise you of all the options that may be available to you.
Contact A Springfield Employment Attorney To Learn More
If you have been a victim of retaliation, the employment lawyers at Connor & Morneau, LLP can help you hold your employer accountable and provide the quality legal representation you need and deserve. We serve clients in Hampden, Franklin, Berkshire, and Worcester counties and throughout Western New England. To schedule a consultation, contact us at 413-455-1730. We look forward to serving your legal needs.