An employer cannot retaliate against, punish, or threaten an employee for reporting a work injury or filing a workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately, there are instances where an employer may take actions against an employee to reduce costs or limit future exposure. Here at Mottaz & Sisk, our attorneys understand the stress and fear that come along with problems at work. We know that you and your family depend on your paycheck and that the personal relationships you develop on the job can be vital to your career, meaning it’s likely you don’t want to rock the boat. However, you must be aware of your rights and know that you have the right to say something should your employer or supervisor take unlawful actions against you.
The attorneys at Mottaz & Sisk are here to help educate you about your options and empower you to take the next step at no cost to you. If you believe your employer is taking action against you because you were injured at work or if you feel you’ve been mistreated because of a personal characteristic, it’s time to take a stand and protect your rights.
What Is Workplace Discrimination and Retaliation?
Workplace discrimination and retaliation can appear in many forms. Still, it’s essential to know that if you’ve filed a complaint with your company or third-party organization about discrimination or unfair treatment, you have the right to work without fear of retaliation. Some common types of workplace discrimination and retaliation include:
- Harassed by an employer for filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Fired because a workers’ compensation claim was filed
- Harassed for having a disability
- Employer mistreating an injured employee
- Younger employees are hired for less pay in place of older employees
- Employer denies compensation or benefits for certain employees
- Discrimination in the event of assigned disability leave
- Employees experience employer retaliation after filing a work injury claim
Whether you suspect workplace discrimination or retaliation for yourself or a co-worker, seeking guidance from an experienced workplace discrimination and retaliation attorney is recommended. Workplace discrimination and retaliation can be challenging to prove, and you mustn’t try to navigate the issue on your own. You have the right to report these instances, so everyone can enjoy a safe and inviting work environment.
Laws Protecting Workers From Retaliation
Most businesses have specific company policies regarding discrimination and retaliation; however, state and federal labor laws forbid employer discrimination and retaliation against employees for any of the following circumstances:
- Rights reasonably exercised under the law
- Suspected employer violations are reported under proper jurisdiction
- Employee participates in court proceedings as a plaintiff or witness
Certain forms of discrimination and retaliation are illegal under state and federal law; however, some are more common than others.
Discrimination or Harassment Claim
Suppose an employee files a complaint with a company, a formal claim with a government agency, or files and participates in a lawsuit for discrimination or harassment claims. In that case, the employer may not discriminate against the employee.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Claims
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer has no right to retaliate by discriminating against the worker if an employee is entitled to receive minimum wage or overtime pay.
An employee is automatically protected under the Whistleblower Act for reporting misconduct should they “blow the whistle” on an employer for abusing labor laws. If a lawsuit comes of the matter and is successful, the employee will likely be entitled to a portion of the collected winnings.
Joining a Union
Legislation banned unfair labor practices that prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee for forming or joining a union. An employer cannot retaliate against an employee for taking part in justifiable union events. Additionally, the right to work and other employment laws bar employers and unions from retaliating against a worker should they choose not to join or decide to resign from union membership.
Seeking Due Benefits
It is usually illegal for an employer to seek revenge on an employee who exercises their employee rights under workers’ compensation and unemployment laws rationally. This can consist of filing and appealing genuine claims for benefits. Each state varies in what methods of retaliation are illegal, as do offered benefits and laws.
Responding to the Incident
If you’re facing workplace discrimination or retaliation, you probably want to seek justice. You must take the right steps to boost the likelihood of the result ending in your favor. The Mottaz & Sisk attorneys encourage you to bring any issues to your manager’s immediate supervisor’s attention, as this alone could solve the situation. Should the problem continue or worsen, you must contact your employer’s human resource department in an attempt to reach a peaceful resolution.
Unfortunately, there are times when these simple steps don’t stop or prevent discrimination or retaliation, and we believe nobody should be forced to work under those conditions. Once you’ve exhausted all of your options, it’s encouraged to seek guidance from an experienced workplace discrimination or retaliation attorney.
Proving Your Complaint
Workplace discrimination and retaliation claims can be challenging to prove, meaning it’s incredibly important to be aware of the process and thoroughly document any information you can. We encourage you to collect as much evidence as possible regarding the incident, so your employer’s management team doesn’t have the opportunity to make excuses or cover their tracks. Evidence can consist of various elements, from work schedule documentation and daily assignments to dates, times, and witnesses of each discrimination or retaliation incident. Creating a paper trail can be extremely useful in proving your case as it displays all the facts rather than relying on simple verbal communications.
Get Expert Guidance From Mottaz & Sisk Today
Are you battling the repercussions of workplace discrimination or retaliation? By law, an employer cannot retaliate against, punish, or threaten any employee for reporting a workplace injury or filing a workers’ compensation claim. Protect your rights by taking a stand. The attorneys at Mottaz & Sisk understand your career’s importance and are aware many families rely on paychecks. Contact us today, so we can assist you in navigating the often-challenging process of workplace discrimination and retaliation claims – you’re not alone.