Employers are prohibited from taking retaliatory actions against employees in certain situations. Retaliatory actions can include punishing the employee or firing the employee. It is important for workers to know when they are protected from retaliation and wrongful termination.
Employer retaliation and when it is prohibited
There are several situations during which it may be considered illegal for an employer to terminate or otherwise punish an employee. These include when the worker is being retaliated against for participating in some protected activity. Examples of when an employer may be prohibited from taking retaliatory action against an employee include:
- When the employee has been a witness to a discrimination charge, complaint, investigation or lawsuit.
- For communicating with a supervisor or manager about employment discrimination including harassment.
- When the employee responded to or answered questions during an employer investigation into alleged harassment or discrimination.
- When the employee refused to follow orders or directions in the workplace that would result in discrimination.
- If the employee resisted sexual advances in the workplace or intervened to protect others.
- When the employee requested an accommodation for disability or other religious practice.
- If the employee asked co-workers about salary information to uncover potentially discriminatory wages.
In addition to being prohibited from firing the employee, it can also be illegal for the employer to punish the employee in certain ways. This can include demotions, abuse or threats or negative performance reviews among other potentially prohibited activities.
Retaliation against employees should be taken seriously and it is important for employees to know when and how they are protected. Understanding employment law resources and how they can help workers who have experienced wrongful termination or retaliation in the workplace can be essential.