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Our workplaces should be spaces where we feel secure and valued. We should feel comfortable to speak out about discriminatory behavior, take steps to prevent violations of the law, and exercise our rights as workers.
Unfortunately, many employers discourage this type of behavior either verbally or with restrictive company policies. Employees may feel intimidated when they try to exercise their rights or do the right thing. However, the law prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee who engages in lawful behavior.
Understanding your rights under the law is critical to your ability to hold workplaces that violate these rights responsible for their actions. An Alabama workplace retaliation lawyer could help you explore those rights and build a case against a retaliatory action that may be successful in civil court. Contact a skilled employment attorney right away.
Everyone is protected by certain rights under federal law when at work. These include the right to be paid a fair wage, to be protected from harassment and discrimination, and to report without penalty any illegal activities observed at the workplace.
However, some employers choose to ignore these rights, and may threaten or intimidate workers who choose to exercise them. This is expressly forbidden under federal law, and each of the statutes providing these rights contain a provision stating that any attempt to stifle the promotion of these rights is illegal.
Retaliation can take many forms, some of which may include:
For example, if a factory worker discovers their supervisor is not properly disposing of hazardous waste, they have the right to report this to the appropriate authorities. If the supervisor learns of this desire and tells the worker they would be fired if they say anything – it would be a textbook example of threatened retaliation.
Alabama law provides few specific protections for people who suffer retaliation for exercising their workplace rights. A limited instance is Alabama Code 12-16-8.1, which states it is illegal for any employer to undertake negative workplace actions against an employee who serves on a jury. Beyond this, Alabama law is silent on the topic of retaliation.
For any true relief, a worker in Alabama must look to federal laws. The statutes mentioned previously also contain provisions that make it illegal for an employer to retaliate against any employee for filing a complaint alleging a violation. In short, this means that all forms of retaliation are illegal—but proving the claim may still be difficult.
It is rare for an employer to openly state they are firing an employee, for example, for reporting a wage violation. Instead, most claims rely upon circumstantial evidence. For instance, if a worker is suddenly given fewer hours per week after reporting an issue in the workplace, and the schedules of other employees remain unchanged, a jury may be convinced that the only reasonable explanation is a violation of the law.
An essential component of a healthy working environment involves allowing workers to exercise their rights. Whenever these rights are threatened by retaliation from employers, workers should feel confident in standing up for themselves.
Workplace retaliation attorneys are available to protect any Alabama employee facing retaliation. From filing complaints alleging retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission throughout the investigative procedure, a practice legal counsel can be of significant help in the pursuit of a successful claim.
Do not allow yourself to be bullied at work; this is illegal and may give rise to a cause of action for a lawsuit. Take a stand against illegal workplace activities and contact an Alabama workplace retaliation lawyer today.