Workers are often afraid to exercise their basic legal rights, to report their employers’ illegal activities, or even to cooperate in an investigation, because they believe that they will be fired and be left with no income and possibly even be blacklisted so that they cannot get another job. The ugly truth is that the risk is very real. Fortunately, if you have been the victim of retaliatory termination, you do have legal recourse. You may be entitled to substantial monetary compensation and your employer could even face criminal penalties.
Retaliatory termination is a form of wrongful termination. If you believe that you have been the victim of retaliatory termination or if you need to take an action that you believe could result in retaliatory termination an employment attorney can help you protect and pursue your rights. Your consultation will be confidential, so you need not worry that simply seeking legal counsel will put you in jeopardy.
What is Retaliatory Discrimination?
Retaliatory termination occurs when an employee is fired for filing a complaint for employer misconduct such as:
- Wage and hour violation
- Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) violations or other health and safety violation
- Sexual harassment
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violation
- Americans with Disabilities (ADA) violation
- Other illegal activities
Retaliatory termination can occur when an employee exercises their rights under employment law, whether that is by making a compliant within the company or filing a complaint or charge with a government agency. Retaliatory termination also applies if you were fired for:
- Filing for Workers’ Compensation
- Refusing to engage in an illegal activity
Actions against employees for cooperating with investigations of complaints also fall under retaliation.
The Outcome of The Compliant is Irrelevant
It is important for both employers and employees to understand that the ultimate outcome stemming from the complaint itself does not justify retaliatory termination.
In other words, even if there is an investigation and the complaint is officially found to be baseless, that is not a defense against a claim for retaliatory termination filed for firing someone because they filed a complaint or cooperated with an investigation.
This protects employees from feeling like they must take a gamble when they file a complaint. You are protected from retaliatory termination even if you do not win the case you are fired for filing. One does not hinge on the other.
Protection from retaliatory termination often falls under whistle-blower protections.