You have the right to engage in employment free of retaliatory actions on the part of your employers. However, situations arise that can cause an employer to take unjustified action against you for simply following the law. Please continue reading to learn more about retaliation in the workplace and what you can do about it.
Why Retaliation in the Workplace Commonly Occurs
Retaliation in the workplace occurs when an employer or boss takes negative actions against an employee after the employee acts in a certain way. In most cases, the actions taken by the employee consist of either the exercising of a right or the reporting of a violation of the law.
For Exercising Your Rights
Labor laws are replete with provisions that protect workers’ rights beyond the right to get paid after working. However, many workplaces have a culture that frowns on workers exercising their bag of workers’ rights.
At these places of employment, exercising a clear right, such as the right to maternity leave or the right to seek workers’ compensation coverage, can and does lead to retaliation such as termination, demotion, a cut in pay, unjustified negative performance reviews, and other retaliatory acts.
For Reporting Violations
Employers must work hard to keep their worksites in compliance with the many laws and regulations that apply. It is the price they pay for the profits they make. However, violations still occur, and employees are often the only ones who can bring wrongdoing to light.
Unfortunately, employees can face significant blowback from outing a company engaged in bad acts, such as paying employees less than they deserve or defrauding the federal government.
What to Do When You Experience Retaliation in the Workplace
Under no circumstances do you have to stomach retaliation in the workplace for engaging in legal activities. You have the right to seek relief and potentially compensatory damages for being retaliated against. The first step in this process is to reach out to an experienced workplace attorney for an initial consultation.
Keep in mind that in order to be successful in a lawsuit for retaliation, your attorney must prove that you were engaged in a protected or legal activity and your employer responded to that activity with an act or acts of retaliation.
For example, if your employer retaliates against you for stealing company funds or assets, then you will not be able to bring a case against them for retaliation in the workplace. The provisions of the law governing lawsuits based on retaliation in the workplace are clear in their mandates that you must have been acting legally in order to file a lawsuit.
Federal and New York state law allow you to seek compensatory damages for retaliatory behavior, which may include back and front pay, benefits, missed financial and career opportunities, and other financial damages.
Under the New York City Human Rights Law, punitive damages may also be sought for retaliation in the workplace that occurred within the borders of the city. Punitive damages serve the purpose of punishing particularly bad-acting individuals and not for providing compensation to the victim of the retaliation.
Call The Cimino Law Firm for help against retaliation in the workplace. You have the right to both do your job without the threat of retaliation and take action when it does occur.