Have You Experienced Retaliation in the Workplace?

By | August 14, 2017

State and Federal laws protect individuals from retaliation.  An employer may not fire, demote, harass or otherwise retaliate against an individual for submitting a complaint of discrimination, participating in a discrimination proceeding or otherwise opposing discrimination.  Note that most of these laws apply to private employers with 15 or more employees, and to all state and local governmental entities no matter how many employees they have.

A complaint of retaliation discrimination must show that you engaged in a protected activity, your employer took an adverse action against you, and there was a direct connection between the protected activity and the adverse action.

Protected activities include submitting, assisting with or participating in the investigation of an employment discrimination complaint based on race, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, or any other protected classification afforded protected by federal and state law.

An adverse action is when an employer tries to stop someone from participating in a protected activity.  Examples of adverse actions include:

  •         Termination
  •         Refusal to hire
  •         Denial of promotion
  •         Threats
  •         Unjustified negative evaluations or references
  •         Pay reduction
  •         Increased surveillance

Finally, there must be a connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action taken against the employee. 

The Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division outlines how to submit a claim of discrimination and retaliation on their website at http://www.twc.state.tx.us/jobseekers/how-submit-employment-discrimination-complaint

The TWC Civil Rights Division also provides the following example of retaliation discrimination: an employee submits a complaint alleging employment discrimination because of his race and his national origin, which is a protected activity.  In the months following his complaint, he begins receiving less and less overtime work, which is an adverse action.  He submits another complaint alleging that the denial of overtime is in retaliation for his original discrimination complaint, showing a causal connection.  Other employees with similar qualifications who have not submitted a discrimination complaint have continued to be assigned overtime at approximately the same rate.  These facts establish that the employee may have been subjected to retaliation for submitting a discrimination complaint, in violation of Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code, Title VII, the ADEA, or the ADA.

If you believe your employer has retaliated against you because you submitted, assisted someone in submitting or participated in the investigation of a discrimination complaint, you must submit a discrimination complaint based on retaliation through the TWC Civil Rights Division or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Law JBH can assist you with this process.

Do you think you have experienced retaliation at your employer? If so, contact Law JBH today at 210-504-8619 to schedule a free 15-minute initial consultation to discuss what steps may be taken.