Most people understand that employment retaliation is against the law but which laws protect employees and how? What acts are employees protected from? The answers to these questions may surprise you.
What Laws Are in Place to Cover Retaliatory Behavior?
There are three types of retaliation law–whistleblowing, workers’ compensation retaliation, and workplace retaliation.
Workers’ Compensation Retaliation
Whistleblowing is covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 and was designed to ensure employees would not be adversely affected for looking out for public interest. The Whistleblower Protection Act is a federal law that makes it illegal for federal agencies to threaten to, or take, retaliatory action against an employee or applicant who filed a complaint. The complaint may have been based on a reported law, rule or regulation violation; mismanagement or waste of funds; abuse of authority; or danger to public health or safety.
Some employees ignore injuries on the job because they worry that if they file for workers’ compensation that their employer will fire them. Often this is a concern when a safety record is at stake or when the employer has had many safety violations. Regardless of the reason, firing or demoting someone for reporting an injury on the job is illegal. According to Florida Labor Code 440.205:
No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate or coerce any employee by reason of such employee’s valid claim for compensation or attempt to claim compensation under the workers’ compensation law.
Employers cannot terminate, demote or cut the wages of an injured worker for reason of the injury.
Workplace retaliation covers employees who have participated in a protected activity (such as a harassment complaint, safety concern, or workplace discrimination). The protected activity could involve the employee directly, another employee, or being a witness in a workplace suit. The employer must know the employee participated in a protected activity. The employer must have performed a negative employment activity (such as firing or demoting) with no cause other than retaliation.
The laws that govern this form of retaliation are based on the specifics of the allegation. They include:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
- Equal Pay Act of 1963
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
- Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
- Sections 102 and 103 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991
- Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitations Act of 1973
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
What Are The Timeframes Involved?
Retaliation claims have expiration dates. There are limits on reporting timeframes. Ten years from now you will not have the luxury of deciding you were retaliated against in the workplace today. If you believe there’s an issue, you should be seeking assistance immediately.
If you have taken part in any of the protected activities or were injured on the job and filed for workers’ compensation and now you’re experiencing adverse employment consequences, talk to an employment retaliation attorney.
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