You may file a report with your human resources department if you have experienced discrimination, sexual harassment, or other grievance. However, many employees are afraid of being retaliated against if they file a complaint or report illegal activity. Fortunately, state and federal laws protect employees from workplace retaliation. You might have a case against your employer if you were fired for exercising your legal rights or reporting illegal activity. If your employer does retaliate against you, you can sue them with the help of a wrongful termination lawyer San Antonio today.
What is retaliation?
Retaliation occurs when an employer takes steps to punish an employee for upholding his or her workplace rights or reporting a legal violation of workplace laws. Employees who come forward to report a problem, such as failure to pay overtime, harassment, or safety hazards, help to enforce many employment laws. Although government agencies enforce these laws, they rarely conduct random workplace audits to look for violations. They instead rely on employee complaints to learn about potential violations.
Some laws protecting workers from retaliation are:
- Workplace harassment and discrimination.
You may not be fired for filing a complaint (whether to your company’s human resources department or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) about workplace harassment or discrimination, participating in an investigation into these issues, or exercising your rights under these laws.
- Wage and hour laws.
Your employer may not fire you for complaining, either internally or to the Department of Labor, that your employer has, for example, not paid overtime, failed to pay the minimum wage, denied breaks that are legally required, or illegally kept some of your earnings or tips.
- Leave laws.
You cannot be fired for exercising your right to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or similar state laws, taking workers’ compensation leave, voting or serving on a jury, taking paid sick leave (if required by state or local law), or taking any other legally protected time off work.
- Health and safety laws.
You may not be fired for reporting health and safety violations at your workplace, whether internally or to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- Worker’s compensation laws.
You may not be fired or otherwise penalized by your employer for filing a workers’ compensation claim for a work-related injury.
What should you do if your employer has retaliated against you?
You may have a retaliation claim if your employer fired you or treated you unfairly after you filed a complaint. Retaliation and wrongful termination cases can be difficult to prove because you must provide valid evidence that your termination or retaliation was related to the complaint. To gather the necessary evidence, you should seek the advice of an experienced employment law attorney. Schedule a consultation today and determine your legal options.