Knoxville Workplace Retaliation Attorneys
If you were treated unfairly at work after refusing to engage in or reporting illegal activity, you may want to contact a Knoxville workplace retaliation lawyer who could help you take action against the workplace retaliation you are experiencing.
Both state and federal laws protect employees from various unlawful retaliation in the workplace. Firing or discriminating against an employee for raising valid legal concerns is not a justifiable action.
We are committed to helping employees work through retaliation matters. Whether you are thinking about coming forward to report illegal conduct at work or have already done so and are facing backlash, our seasoned employment attorneys could help.
What Does It Mean to be an “At-Will” Employee?
Knoxville, like all of Tennessee, follows an employment-at-will doctrine. This doctrine is generally applicable to all employees who do not have an employment contract. Under this doctrine, employers may let their employees go for essentially any reason and at any time.
Furthermore, neither employers or employees are required to give notice prior to termination. Although employers have broad discretion to terminate employment under this principle, there are some restrictions. Speak with an experienced Knoxville workplace retaliation lawyer to learn about the restrictions and if they apply to your situation.
Signs of Employer Retaliation
The employment-at-will doctrine does not extend to employees participating in a protected activity. Protected activities are those that a worker is legally entitled to partake in such as:
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Attending jury duty
- Taking medical leave
- Reporting workplace harassment or discrimination
- Reporting unsafe work conditions
- Reporting illegal activity
Employers cannot retaliate against employees who take these and other protected actions. Employer retaliation can take many forms and may consist of termination, demotion, threats, decreases in pay, or harassment. Whether you have a valid cause of action for retaliation will hinge on whether you were engaged in a legally protected activity. If your actions were protected, you may have a valid claim against your employer.
Legal Protections for Whistleblowing Workers in Knoxville
At both the state and federal levels there are laws in place that protect employees engaging in protected activities from unlawful employer retaliation. In Knoxville, one group the law provides protections for is whistleblowers. A whistleblower is an employee who reports illegal activity or declines to engage in illegal activity happening at their place of employment.
State law also has a public policy exception to the employment-at-will doctrine. To be successful under the public policy exception, you must show your termination violates public policy. Legal Protections for Knoxville workers reporting illegal discrimination, harassment, overtime or minimum wage violations, and other workplace laws.
Tennessee and federal law provide protection for employees who report violations of labor laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or the Americans with Disabilities Act. These laws also protect employees who participate in a government investigation or lawsuit brought to enforce these laws against their employer.
Federal law also prevents retaliation against employees who report violations of the overtime – minimum wage provisions under Federal Law, whether the violation involved the person reporting the violation or another employee. Employees who participate in a government investigation or lawsuit brought to enforce these laws against their employer.
Proving a Retaliation Claim
Retaliation cases can be difficult to prove. Not every instance of termination or poor treatment in the workplace will amount to unlawful retaliation. If an employer can demonstrate they were arranging to fire an employee or had an independent reason for the termination, this will likely weaken a retaliation claim. However, our Knoxville workplace retaliation attorneys could help you determine if you have a valid claim.
Damages Available to Employees
The damages available in each retaliation case will be different. Our lawyers have successfully recovered back wages for some employees and reinstated other employees to their previous positions. Reviewing an employee’s work history and the timeline of events leading up to the retaliation will give some insight into potential damages.
Our Attorneys Could Help Protect Knoxville Employees from Workplace Retaliation
You should not have to fear retaliation for doing what is right. If you were retaliated against while participating in a protected activity, you have legal rights. A Knoxville employment lawyer at Employment and Consumer Law Group could help you understand your options.
If you are interested in scheduling a consultation to discuss workplace retaliation with one of our lawyers, please contact our office in Knoxville. We could assist you in resolving your employment matter.