Unfortunately, discrimination, injuries, and health and safety violations occur at workplaces across the country. Some employers prioritize their reputation over safety standards, and they may retaliate against employees who report injuries and discrimination or make whistleblower claims. Situations like this can make it challenging for workers to report concerns out of fear of being demoted or fired. However, according to federal and state law, it is illegal for employers to retaliate against workers for engaging in legally protected activities in the workplace.
You have legal rights as an employee to receive workers’ compensation benefits or report discrimination or safety violations. With a Minnesota whistleblower lawyer on your side from Mottaz & Sisk, you will learn about your legal options and the next steps you can take to get the justice you deserve. If you were demoted, fired, or otherwise disciplined for legally reporting a workplace violation, contact a Minneapolis workplace retaliation lawyer at Mottaz & Sisk today.
What Is Workplace Retaliation?
Workplace retaliation occurs when an employer takes disciplinary action against an employee for exercising their lawful rights. Illegal disciplinary action can include:
- Terminating or demoting the employee
- Changing the employee’s job duties or work hours
- Transferring the employee to a different position or location
- Reducing salary or benefits
- Denying the employee a pay raise
Retaliation can appear in many forms, and sometimes the instances are not as obvious. Always remember that if you file a complaint about safety violations, discrimination, injury, or harassment, you have the right to work without fear of retaliation. Some common examples of workplace retaliation include:
- Harassed or fired by an employer for filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Demoted for refusing to commit illegal acts per your employer’s request
- Disciplined for requesting a leave of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Fired for whistleblowing against unlawful practices in the workplace
- Reducing pay for speaking out against sexual harassment
- Terminated for reporting Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) violations
Whether you suspect retaliation for yourself or a co-worker, seek guidance from an experienced workplace retaliation lawyer immediately. Whether the retaliation involves discrimination, injury, or OSHA violations, a skilled OSHA lawyer will help you prove your case and win you the justice you deserve. You have the right to report illegal instances in the workplace so that you and all your co-workers can enjoy a safe work environment.
Laws Protecting Workers From Retaliation
Many businesses have specific company policies in place about workplace retaliation. However, employees are also protected at the state and federal levels. Federal labor laws forbid employer retaliation against workers for any of the following circumstances:
- Exercising rights under the law
- Suspected employer violations reported under proper jurisdiction
- Employee participates in court proceedings as a plaintiff or witness
Retaliation is illegal on the federal level because of many governmental protections, which include, but are not limited to:
Discrimination or Harassment Claim
Employees are legally allowed to file a complaint with a company, a formal claim with a government agency, or file and participate in a discrimination or harassment lawsuit. An employer may not retaliate against an employee for participating in any of these circumstances.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Claims
According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer cannot retaliate by discriminating against a worker if the employee is entitled to receive minimum wage or overtime pay.
Under the Whistleblower Protection Act, all employees are protected for “blowing the whistle” and reporting misconduct or violated labor laws. If a successful lawsuit comes from the reported information, the whistleblower will likely be entitled to a portion of the collected winnings.
Joining a Union
The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act prohibits an employer from retaliating against employees for forming or joining a union. An employer cannot retaliate against a worker for joining justifiable union events. Additionally, right-to-work and other employment laws bar employers and unions from retaliating against a worker should they choose not to join a union or resign from membership.
Seeking Due Benefits
If an employee lawfully seeks workers’ compensation or other due benefits, it is illegal for an employer to seek revenge on the employee. Each state has differing laws about illegal methods of retaliation as well as workers’ benefits.
Don’t Wait to Respond to the Incident
You deserve justice in the face of workplace retaliation. The faster you respond to an instance of retaliation, the higher your chances are of winning your case. The workplace retaliation lawyers at Mottaz & Sisk recommend bringing any issues to your immediate supervisor’s attention, as this step alone can sometimes solve the situation. But, if the problem continues or worsens, inform your company’s human resource (HR) department in an attempt to reach a resolution.
In some cases, speaking with supervisors and HR representatives doesn’t stop or prevent retaliation, and you should not be forced to work under those harmful circumstances. Once you’ve exhausted your options within your workplace, seek guidance from a knowledgeable retaliation attorney as soon as possible.
Prove Your Complaint With Evidence
Workplace retaliation claims can be challenging to prove, so it’s essential to be aware of the legal process and thoroughly document any information you can. Collect as much evidence as possible regarding the retaliation incident so that your employer doesn’t have the opportunity to make excuses or cover their tracks with lies.
Evidence can include documenting your work schedule and daily assignments to the dates, times, and witnesses of each retaliation incident. Creating a paper trail is extremely helpful in proving your case as it helps display the facts. Even if you’re unable to document significant evidence of workplace retaliation, don’t hesitate to contact the skilled lawyers at Mottaz & Sisk. We will work tirelessly on your claim and help you gather evidence that will benefit you in and out of court.
Get the Justice You Deserve With the Help of Mottaz & Sisk
You don’t deserve to battle the repercussions of workplace retaliation any longer. According to state and federal law, you are protected from retaliation if you report safety violations or discrimination or file a workers’ compensation claim. The skilled workplace retaliation attorneys at Mottaz & Sisk have helped hundreds of employees navigate workplace retaliation claims, and we are prepared to win you justice. Search “whistleblower lawyer near me” to discover our conveniently located offices in Coon Rapids and Duluth, Minnesota. You are not alone; partner with a legal advocate today.