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U.S. and Georgia law both prohibit unlawful discrimination and harassment by employers. But did you know those same laws also prohibit employers from taking adverse action against an employee for filing a complaint for such discrimination and harassment?
Prohibitions on workplace retaliation are a huge part of what makes discrimination laws function – without them, employers would be free to coerce an employee into dropping a complaint by threatening termination or making working conditions intolerable.
It is not just discrimination and harassment laws that prohibit retaliation. Numerous federal laws, such as the Clean Air Act, Federal Water Pollution Control Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and Surface Transportation Assistance Act contain whistleblower provisions that prevent employers from retaliating against employees who complain about an employer’s violation of the law.
Under many federal and Georgia laws, employers may be liable for illegal retaliation even before an official complaint against the employer is filed.
Federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws protect from retaliation both individuals who “reasonably oppose” an employer’s discriminatory conduct in an informal manner, as well as those who participate in the official EEOC complaint process.
Make sure to retain the services of an experienced Georgia workplace retaliation lawyer if you feel you have been unfairly and illegally targeted at work,
Even if an employee raises an unofficial complaint that asserts their rights in the workplace, it is important to keep an eye out for retaliatory behavior and be ready to build a case with a lawyer that knows how to identify and put it to a stop. Workplace retaliation is not just limited to termination or the threat of termination. It may consist of any of the following conduct:
In fact, any action taken by an employer that is meant to discourage an employee from asserting their rights in the workplace may amount to retaliation, regardless of how large or small it is.
Importantly, workplace retaliation protections do not just extend to individuals who assert their rights in the workplace, but also to anyone who participates in or assists an investigation or proceeding about a workplace complaint.
This prevents employers from impeding investigations and proceedings by coercing other employees not to participate or corroborate aspects of a complaint.
Moreover, in accordance with most laws, it illegal for an employer to take action against an individual (such as a close work friend) for the purpose of discouraging another from asserting their workplace rights. In such a case, both individuals may be able to bring a claim of retaliation.
It is important to document instances of potential retaliation as soon as they occur, as one of the underpinnings of a retaliation claim is whether the employer’s action is meant to discourage an individual from asserting their rights.
Adverse actions taken by an employer that occur soon after an individual asserts his or her rights or files a complaint may be particularly indicative of retaliatory intent, especially when an employee has done nothing that would otherwise justify such treatment.
If you experienced unfair retaliation in the workplace you may be eligible for compensatory and punitive damages. But be aware that retaliation claims are often time-barred, so it is essential that you raise your claim as soon as possible. Contact one of our Georgia workplace retaliation lawyers today.