Disputes and arguments in the workplace are things that cannot be completely prevented. Everyday, thousands of employees experience certain types of employment law violations such as harassment and discrimination. To find a solution to their problem, most of them file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They thought that their problems would go away once they report to the EEOC, but they were wrong. Their troubles have just begun.
Many employers today "punish" their employees who have complained to the authorities regarding a violation that happened in their companies. This punishment is commonly called workplace retaliation. An act is considered workplace retaliation if the following factors are present:
- The employee who experienced the action is in a "protected condition". Any employee who will file a complaint with the authorities will automatically be covered and protected by the law. Because of this, he cannot receive any harsh or adverse actions from his employers and coworkers.
- The retaliatory action was committed by the employer or a coworker a short time after the complainant was put in a protected state. If the employee experienced a sudden harsh change in the workplace a few days or weeks after he filed the complaint with the EEOC, it may be considered a retaliatory action.
- The abuse or harassment may be directly related to the employee's initial complaint. Harassment, physical or emotional abuse, and discrimination are just some of the employment law violations that can be considered retaliatory in nature. Employees should make sure that the retaliatory action did not just happen once to ensure that it is indeed related to his initial complaint.
Once all these things are present, the employee may file a retaliation claim against his employer. In a retaliation case, the following procedures should be conducted carefully to derive fair and accurate results:
- Interview of both the employee and the accused employer or coworker
- Gathering of files and documents of the parties involved
- Verification of witnesses
- Making a conclusion with an immediate course of action
If the complainant wins the workplace retaliation claim dispute, the employer would be required to pay for his damages. The retaliation claim is different from the original dispute compensation. If the original accusation of the employee was also proven to be true, the employer would also pay for the corresponding damages.
Workplace retaliation is forbidden under federal and state employment laws. Employers should be aware of this to avoid paying devastating compensatory and retaliation damages.