Most of us want to do the right thing. Sometimes it works in our favor. Sometimes it doesn’t.
If you “did the right thing” by reporting employment discrimination and now your employer is retaliating against you for your actions, you’re in a difficult spot. Most people need their jobs and the threat of losing them is enough to get many to back down. That’s what your employer may be counting on.
Don’t let it happen to you. Know your rights.
What Does it Take to Prove Workplace Retaliation?
First, to win an employment retaliation case you need to be able to show that your employer committed a negative job action towards you because of your employment discrimination report. The report may have involved you as the victim but it could also be on behalf of another employee or an illegal practice.
As long as the report was filed officially and you received a negative job action (such as termination, a demotion, unfair discipline, or being passed up for a promotion), you could be a victim of workplace retaliation.
When Is It Time for an Employment Attorney?
There are a lot of complexities in an employment discrimination or workplace retaliation case. Working through the details is easier with someone who understands the nuances of the law. You need to meet all three of the following to have a successful workplace retaliation case:
- You must show you filed a complaint or are part of a protected activity; and
- You have been a victim of a negative action from your employer; and
- Those two events are connected.
It is not enough to show one and two. One and two must lead to three. That’s why having an employment attorney on your side can be of benefit. Often s/he is able to connect the first two through research and investigation. A hunch on your part is not enough for a successful case. You must be able to show the correlation.
Things to Know about Working with an Employment Retaliation Attorney
Unless you have an employer who outright admits it to you, as in “Go to HR and you can kiss that opportunity goodbye” (we all wish it was that transparent), you will need to prove one caused the other. This can sometimes be quite difficult but here’s how skilled employment attorneys handle it. They research and ascertain:
Did you have amazing job reviews until right before your filing? After that, could you do no right in the eyes of your manager? If one, two, and three above happen in quick succession, this is a good indicator something is awry.
The employee needs to show that the person taking the negative job action against her knew she filed a complaint. For instance, if the employee filed a complaint with HR and her manager fired her later that day, unless there’s proof that manager knew about the complaint, it’s coincidental.
Lack of Reason
Filing a complaint does not give you a get-out-of-jail-free card. If you stop showing up for work after filing the complaint because you’re afraid of retaliation, and then they fire you, that’s not retaliation. That’s the business looking out for its bottom line. A negative job action in a retaliation case should lack a reason outside of retaliation. If you have a bad employment record, it may be harder to prove unless it was said to you directly.
Employment retaliation doesn’t go away. It escalates. If you think your employer is putting pressure on you to leave or has let you go and you think it’s due to a complaint you filed, contact an employment attorney at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. today. The first consultation is free and they can help you better understand your employment rights in Florida.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.