Workplace Retaliation

Are you experiencing retaliation at work because you:

  • Filed a charge or compliant of workplace discrimination?
  • Participated or are participating in an EEO investigation?
  • Provided information in response to an employer’s internal investigation into a coworker’s misconduct?
  • Sat or are sitting for a deposition in a discrimination case?

If so, you may be experiencing workplace retaliation, and your employer may be breaking the law.  Federal, state and local anti-discrimination laws prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee because that employee opposed conduct that he or she reasonably believed constituted unlawful discrimination.  In 2009, the Supreme Court made it clear that employees are protected not only when they oppose discrimination or harassment of themselves, but also when they oppose discrimination or harassment of their coworkers.  Crawford v. Metro. Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson County, TN, 555 U.S. 271 (2009).

What Are Examples Of Workplace Retaliation?

Retaliation can take many forms, including but not limited to:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Denial of a promotion
  • Refusal to hire
  • Transfer
  • Assignment to undesirable job duties

The Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in 2006, called Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White, 126 S. Ct. 2405 (2006), expanding the rights of workers to be free from retaliatory action by broadening the definition of retaliatory conduct to include any action by an employer that would dissuade a reasonable employee from opposing discriminatory conduct or participating in an investigation or proceeding related discrimination or harassment.

Legal Protections Against Retaliation

The same laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability also prohibit retaliation against individuals who oppose unlawful discrimination or participate in an employment discrimination proceeding.

Katz Banks Kumin partner Lisa J. Banks and Senior Counsel Carolyn Wheeler have been working to help the EEOC craft clearer and more effective interpretations of the laws protecting workers from retaliation for reporting discrimination in the workplace.  To learn more, read about Ms. Banks and Ms. Wheeler's letter to the EEOC commenting on the agency's proposed guidance on retaliation.

Our attorneys are nationally recognized for their expertise in handling retaliation claims. If you are suffering or have suffered workplace retaliation, contact the experienced lawyers at Katz Banks Kumin. Your communications with us are confidential, without charge and without further obligation.