Retaliation and Whistleblower
A number of different employment laws forbid retaliation. In general, when an employee reports harassment or discrimination, these are forms of what the law calls “protected activity.” Filing a worker’s compensation claim is another example of protected activity. For government employees, a report of unlawful actions by government officials is yet another form of protected activity called “whistleblowing.”
It is unlawful for a covered employer to retaliate against an employee because the employee has engaged in any form of protected activity. So, while the discrimination and harassment laws protect against unequal treatment, the retaliation laws protect certain forms of speech made by employees in good faith. However, an employee’s protected activity does not provide a shield of immunity. Thus, employers can still discipline and terminate employees who have engaged in protected activity if the termination is for poor performance or misconduct.
Retaliation law is commonly misunderstood. For example, an employee’s report of something that is not actually unlawful can still be “protected” if the employee reasonably believed the activity was unlawful when the report was made. This is true even if the employee has complained or given a statement about a coworker’s complaints of harassment, discrimination or other unlawful activity.
Confusing, right? We can help provide clarity and representation. If you need advice or representation in a case that involves retaliation or allegations of retaliation or just want to better understand the law or your rights, we can help. Lawyers in the firm have a track record of success in these cases. Here are a few examples.