How Retaliation Attorneys Prove Your Employer Wronged You
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on May 28, 2018
If you experience or report discrimination or harassment in the workplace, you are legally protected from retaliation from your employer. However, just because it is illegal does not stop someone from doing it. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, about a third of discrimination charges in the workplace involve a retaliation claim. When you file a suit, retaliation attorneys must find a causal link between the employees’ protected activity and the employer’s retaliation.
What is a Protected Activity?
The federal government prohibits discrimination in the workplace under laws including Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and Title VII are also laws that uphold fair workplace treatment. Additionally, these laws prohibit retaliation against employees when they engage in a protected activity.
Protected activities include opposition and participation.
- Opposition is an act where an employee communicates to their employer that some sort of discrimination or harassment has occurred.
- Participation is an act where an employee files a charge of discrimination or takes part in an investigation regarding discrimination or harassment.
The employee doesn’t have to be the one complaining directly as the receiver or witness to an event. People active in opposition also include those participating in an internal investigation of a complaint. In the past, employers have gone after employees that participate in their company’s internal investigation as a way to influence decisions and outcomes. However, court rulings usually find those targeted are equally protected under opposition clauses.
Determining Retaliation and Finding a Causal Link
Retaliation refers to any “materially adverse” action an employer takes against an employee. Additionally, the action must be an attempt to deter them from making a complaint or engaging in another protected activity. Materially adverse actions include things such as a salary reduction and change in conditions of employment. Demotions, discipline, and termination could also be materially adverse actions. In order to prove that one of these actions was an act of retaliation, an attorney must find a causal link between it and your protected activity.
To determine a causal link, retaliation attorneys show the court that the timing is in line with the two actions. They also illustrate that the employer had knowledge about the complaint or other protected activity. If the defense cannot provide a better explanation, then a causal link is established.
Retaliation attorneys can help an employee prove a causal link between their protected act and their employer’s retaliation.
Employees who have been harassed or discriminated against in the workplace are often scared to come forward. The most commonly cited reason for their hesitation is fear of retaliation. It is crucial to hire an experienced law firm who can help prove how an employer wronged an employee.
If you need legal help regarding a harassment or discrimination claim in the Kentucky or in Southern Indiana, contact an experienced retaliation attorney at Cooper and Friedman by calling (502) 459-7555. You can also contact us through our website and someone will be in touch with you regarding your case as soon as possible.