What is Considered Retaliation in the Workplace?
When a company or person is doing something that is against the law at work it sometimes gets reported. In some instances, the whistleblower is blamed and treated unfairly – resulting in the whistleblower feeling intimidated and recanting their story.
This intimidation is illegal. It is workplace retaliation.
If you are dealing with retaliation in the workplace and considering working with a workplace retaliation attorney, here are the key elements of your whistleblower claim, and depending on the law you are relying on to provide whistleblower protections there may be additional requirements:
Important Points in a Workplace Retaliation Complaint
A complaint was made.
You must have officially made a complaint or participated in a charge, complaint, lawsuit, or investigation. Telling a friend or loved one about the incident does not count as a formal complaint or filing. The employer needs to know about the incident.
The employer knew it was you.
At some point you will need to establish that the employer knew you engaged in the protected activity of blowing the whistle because you will have to show that the fact you engaged in this activity was the reason the employer took adverse action. The employer may make logical deductions even if the complaint was filed anonymously. Regardless, whether you filed your complaint anonymously or not, experiencing retaliation for blowing the whistle is against the law.
An adverse employment action occurred.
Leaving you out of Friday after-hour drink invitations is not considered an adverse employment action unless it involves clients and in some way limits your work success. On the other hand, if they fire you (without cause), demote you, tell you that you are no longer eligible for a raise or advancement, strip away benefits from you, or any other negative employment action, like taking away a lucrative client, this may constitute workplace retaliation.
That adverse action was due to the whistleblowing.
It may not be considered retaliation if the negative action taken by the company was due to another reason. For instance, if you are perpetually late, being a whistleblower does not protect you from adverse employment actions due to your lack of punctuality.
Whistleblowing is Important – and Protected
The reason why workplace retaliation is taken so seriously is that without people willing to address injustices and report violations of laws and statutes, those very laws are hard to enforce. Whistleblowers safeguard the system, but when someone’s employment is threatened, it’s difficult to do the right thing.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to speak to a workplace retaliation attorney. Our attorneys can help you understand your rights in this situation. At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. we only represent employees because workplace justice is important to us.
If you’re not sure whether you’re ready for an attorney or if you need one, contact our office today. You may be unsure about your attorney needs but know that your employer isn’t. Our tenacious workplace retaliation attorneys have helped thousands of people, speaking up for them when they felt like their voice was lost.
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