Dealing with the aftermath of filing a discrimination charge can be as stressful as being discriminated against in the first place. Many individuals filing discrimination complaints face retaliatory actions by their employers, including termination of employment, transfers to less desirable positions, poor performance evaluations, denials of promotions or raises, exclusion from team meetings, and demotion.
Over 40,000 complaints of workplace retaliation are filed annually with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Those experiencing retaliation for reporting alleged discrimination at work can make it through this difficult time by remembering the following suggestions.
Proving workplace retaliation requires evidence an individual was engaged in a protected activity and the employer took an adverse action against the individual as a result of engaging in that activity. Some of the most common types of protected activities include filing a report of discrimination, cooperating in an investigation into discriminatory behavior, appearing as a witness in a discrimination proceeding, or refusing to follow an employer’s instruction to engage in or protect discriminatory practices.
Documenting all actions taken by an employer after the protected activity occurred, including saving all communication, including emails and voice mail messages, is important should a legal action be filed. Often, employers will try to justify their actions on alternative grounds, such as poor performance. Keeping an adequate timeline of events can help discredit these claims.
While communicating concerns about retaliation to a human resources department can be a first step, it is advisable to not go public with retaliatory grievances before first consulting with an experienced employment attorney. Should legal action against an employer become necessary, any public comments made on social media can be used against an employee.
Taking care of one’s mental health during this difficult time should be a top priority. Stress and depression associated with workplace retaliation has been documented and in extreme cases, can lead to suicidal thoughts. Many individuals face anxiety when dealing with workplace retaliation, including being excluded from groups. When workers begin to doubt themselves or feel pressure to ignore retaliatory actions, their mental health is in jeopardy. Workers should not ignore the toll workplace retaliation can take on one’s mental health. Seek professional help and support during this time.
Workplace retaliation is illegal. Federal and state employment laws protect workers from any type of employment retaliation. Workers who experience adverse actions from their employer after engaging in a protected activity can seek legal compensation. Navigating the complexities of employment law without the assistance of an experienced attorney can be difficult. Contacting an experienced Long Branch employment lawyer is the first step toward enforcing a worker’s right to be free from retaliation.
If you or a loved one is experiencing workplace retaliation, the dedicated Long Branch employment lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. are ready to help. We will review your case and fight to obtain the justice you deserve. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 732-493-9400 or contact us online.
Located in Eatontown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Ocean Township, Fair Haven, Eatontown, Red Bank, Tinton Falls, Shrewsbury, Middletown Township, Wall Township, Sea Girt, and Spring Lake.