Employees often hesitate to complain about discrimination or harassment in the workplace because they are concerned that their employer may retaliate against them for complaining. Yes, most personnel policies promise that you won't be retaliated against for making a complaint, but we all know of individuals who are mysteriously discharged shortly after making a complaint, or after acting as a witness for a co-employee.
Fortunately, Title VII and the other discrimination laws prohibit retaliation in the workplace. If you experience retaliation in the workplace, you are entitled to the same remedies as you have in any other discrimination case. But it is important to understand that retaliation does not mean any type of retaliatory conduct by your employer. Retaliation means that you complained about discriminatory conduct in the workplace--either discrimination directed at you or someone else in the workplace, and you are retaliated against as a result.
Retaliation doesn't mean simply that you were discharged for making a complaint. It means almost any negative action by your employer against you (or even against a family member or friend) in response to your complaint about discrimination, or for participating as a witness in someone else's discrimination case. The U.S. Supreme Court has recently defined retaliation quite broadly, to include any conduct by an employer that would tend to deter reasonable people from pursuing their rights. So, if in response to your complaint about race discrimination or sexual harassment, your employer moves you to a less favorable shift, or transfers you to a different location further from your home, you may have a good claim for retaliation.
The nice thing about retaliation cases is that they are often easier to win than a discrimination or harassment case. In order to win a discrimination case, you have to prove that your employer made a decision based on a protected characteristic, such as your race, age, sex, etc. But to prove retaliation, you don't have to prove that you were actually discriminated against and then fired for complaining. All you have to show is that you reasonably believed that you were discriminated against and then subjected to an adverse action. Even if you were wrong about the discrimination, if you honestly and reasonably believed you were discriminated against, you can still win the retaliation case.
The bottom line is--if you truly believe that you or someone you know at work has been discriminated against, you don't have to suffer in silence. You can fight back, and we can help you fight back. The experienced employment discrimination attorneys of Buckley Beal have years of experience handling retaliation cases, and we can help you with your case. Call us at (404) 781-1100 or email us, and we'll do our best to fight retaliation in your workplace.