Columbus Employment Retaliation Attorneys
Employees are guaranteed certain rights under federal and state labor laws. You must be able to exercise these rights without facing, or fearing, retribution from your employer. There are multiple federal and state statutes in employment law which protect employees from retaliation. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits covered employers from retaliating against employees who file charges, testify, report discrimination, or otherwise participate in an investigation against the company. If you have faced any form of employer retaliation for engaging in a protected activity, you need professional legal support.
At Coffman Legal, our Columbus employment retaliation attorneys are committed to fighting for worker rights in Central Ohio. You should not be punished for reporting misconduct or exercising your basic legal rights under state or federal labor regulations. If you or your loved one faced any form of retaliation from your employer, our Columbus employment retaliation attorneys are here to discuss the circumstances of your employment to determine if you have a claim for retaliation. To arrange a no-fee, no obligation case evaluation, please contact our Columbus law office today.
Employees Have a Right to Engage in Protected Activities
As explained by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there are employment regulations in place designed to prevent employers from taking action against workers who have asserted their rights, including the right to be free from discrimination and workplace harassment. An employee who is asserting their rights is engaging in a “protected activity”. Some specific examples of protected activities that are found within certain state or federal employment laws include:
- The filing of an EEO complaint;
- Serving as a witness in another employee’s complaint;
- Reporting discrimination;
- Resisting or reporting workplace harassment; and
- Requesting an accommodation for a disability.
What is Retaliation? Understanding Adverse Employment Actions
To prove unlawful retaliation, an employee must be able to connect their participation in a protected activity or their opposition to unlawful conduct with actual adverse employment action that has been taken against them. Adverse employment actions can come in a number of different forms. Some examples include:
- Denial of promotion;
- Loss of pay or benefits;
- Facing increased scrutiny; and
- Facing workplace harassment.
If you believe that you are facing any type of adverse employment action because you asserted your rights or you opposed an illegal activity, please reach out to our experienced Columbus, OH employment retaliation lawyers right away.
Anti-Retaliation Participation Clause
If you have participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing because you filed a claim against your employer for discrimination or harassment, or if you are a witness for a co-worker who filed a claim, you are protected under the participation clause.
You are legally allowed to speak out about unlawful discrimination and answer questions without retaliation during an employer’s internal investigation. For example, if you accompany a coworker to the HR office to file a complaint, you are also protected from retaliation from your employer. In this manner, protection extends to those persons not directly involved in the protected activity.
When an employee seeks to prove their case of employment retaliation under Title VII’s Participation Clause they must generally establish that:
- they engaged in a protected activity
- they subsequently suffered an adverse employment action
- the totality of the circumstances permit an inference of a retaliatory motive
As in employment discrimination cases, the employer then has the burden of showing it had a legitimate and non-retaliatory reason for the adverse employment action. Assuming the employer meets its burden (which it will because no employer is going to admit to retaliating), the employee must then prove that the employer’s stated reason was merely pretexted for its decision.
If you believe you have been retaliated against for your participation in a discrimination or harassment proceeding or investigation, contact our Columbus employment retaliation attorneys.
Anti-Retaliation Opposition Clause
Employees are also protected from retaliation for opposing what they believe to be unlawful practices under the Opposition Clause.
In Opposition Clause cases, the employee does not have to prove that the opposed practice was unlawful for the employee to be protected from retaliation. In other words, an employee doesn’t have to prove they have suffered unlawful actions by their employer for the employee to be protected from retaliation for complaining about the actions. Instead, the employee must only reasonably believe they were opposing unlawful action by their employers.
If you believe you have experienced retaliation for opposing an unlawful practice, contact our Columbus employment retaliation attorneys.
Employers Often Try to Conceal Retaliation With Pretextual Reasoning
While there are still some exceptions, most employers are aware of the fact that retaliation is unlawful. As a result, the majority of companies that engage in retaliatory behavior attempt to “cover their tracks”. For example, it is rare that a manager or company will openly admit that they are taking adverse action against an employee simply because that employee reported sexual harassment.
Instead, employers are likely to try to conceal their illegal retaliatory behavior with pretextual reasoning. In the most simple terms, “pretext’ is defined as a false reason for an action that is used to cover up the actual motives. Employees who have faced retaliation, or believe that they may currently be facing retaliation, need strong, experienced employment lawyers on their side. Your lawyers will be able to review your situation and help you gather the evidence to build a compelling case that demonstrates the true retaliatory nature of an employer’s conduct.
Contact Our Columbus Employment Retaliation Attorneys Today
At Coffman Legal, we are committed to protecting employees from unlawful retaliation. If you have faced retaliation in your employment, it is important to contact our Columbus employment retaliation attorneys to determine what you can do to protect yourself and assert your rights. Please feel free to contact our office with any questions about employment retaliation. To schedule a free consultation with our Columbus employment attorneys, please contact us today at 614-949-1181.