Retaliation and Whistleblower Claims
Employees who file claims for unpaid overtime or minimum wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), or who submit discrimination complaints pursuant to local, State, or Federal law, are protected from reprisals and retaliation by their employers. Retaliation generally takes the form of a demotion, severe & continued harassment, a job transfer, a reduction in job duties, compensation, or benefits, or the outright termination of one’s employment.
Likewise, an employer may not retaliate against an employee who opposes workplace discrimination, assists or testifies in an investigation into discrimination allegations, refuses to engage in conduct which the employee believes to be unlawful, or otherwise exercises their rights under the law. As a result, employers may not punish employees who pursue their legal rights in the areas of overtime wages and workplace discrimination. Further, State and Federal laws frequently protect employees from retaliation when they “blow the whistle” to either management or a governmental entity concerning actual or perceived violations of the law by their employer.
Employment retaliation laws provide employees with strong legal protection in the workplace. But, you must follow strict legal rules. If you don’t, you will lose your right to such protection.
There are two types of retaliation claims:
- Opposition Claims are claims by employees who are retaliated against after they complain to their employer or oppose unlawful discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
- Participation Claims are claims by employees who are retaliated against after filing a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or testifying, assisting or participating in any employment discrimination investigation or proceedings.
Retaliation is not limited to firings. It can be a negative reassignment. It can be a demotion. It can be a poor performance review. It can even occur if your employer harms you outside the workplace.
The United States Supreme Court has explained that retaliation in the workplace includes any action that would likely discourage a reasonable employee from making or supporting a claim of discrimination or harassment.
If you believe that you have a retaliation or whistleblower claim, contact Atlanta employment attorney Paul Sharman, anytime, at (678) 242-5297 for a free, no obligation consultation to determine if you have a potential lawsuit or use our convenient email form.