Employees enjoy protection from retaliation under the law for a host of actions in the workplace. State and federal laws protect employees from retaliation for complaints of unlawful discrimination, for seeking reasonable accommodations for disabilities, for taking protected family and medical leave, and from whistleblowing or refusing to engage in illegal activities. The web of legal protections from retaliation is comprehensive and fact-specific, and you should contact a qualified employment attorney if you believe you are being retaliated because of your legally protected activity at work.
The lawyers at Correia & Puth, PLLC have the experience and drive to protect employees from unlawful retaliation in the workplace. We identify employees’ legal rights, craft strategies to stop workplace retaliation before it occurs, and enforce legal rights after employers retaliate. We also counsel employees who believe they have are experiencing retaliation, and to recover for employees who have been retaliated against or terminated for engaging in protected activity. We also negotiate with employers, and file claims and lawsuits on behalf of our clients when appropriate. We zealously represent employees to obtain the best possible results.
“We believe that employees should be able to assert their legal rights without risking their livelihoods. Several laws at the state and federal level protect employees from retaliation, and we are motivated to ensure that those laws are enforced and that employees who face unlawful retaliation have the greatest possible protections and recover for their harms.”
Workplace protections from retaliation can be very broad. Not only do laws against retaliation protect employees from termination, but usually also provide protection from an employer taking an adverse action that would “dissuade a reasonable employee” from complaining about their legal rights. As a result, adverse actions can include termination, refusal to hire, denial of promotion, unjustified negative performance evaluations, or other threats or harassment.
Under civil rights laws, an employee engages in protected activity by opposing unlawful discrimination or harassment, or participating in an employment discrimination proceeding. An employee opposes discrimination when they complain about unlawful discrimination or harassment, threaten to file a complaint, or refuse to obey an order they reasonably believe is discriminatory. An employee participates in a proceeding when they file a complaint of unlawful discrimination or harassment, cooperate with an internal or external investigation of discrimination or harassment, or serve as a witness in an investigation or litigation. Each of these can amount to “protected activity” for the purposes of retaliation under county, state, and federal anti-discrimination laws, such as the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, Montgomery and Prince Georges County Human Rights Acts, Maryland State law, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (“Section 1981”), and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
In the disability setting, employees can engage in “protected activity” by seeking accommodations for disabilities. Similarly, employees can gain protection from retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by seeking or taking protected FMLA leave.
The number of laws protecting against retaliation for protected “whistleblowing” is very extensive. Those laws include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, the False Claims Act, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and a host of other laws. State laws in the District of Columbia and Maryland also protect against retaliation in a variety of settings. Employees are protected from retaliation for collectively complaining about the terms of conditions of employment under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Importantly, public employees may not be retaliated against for exercising their rights to free speech under the United States Constitution. Employees are also protected from retaliation related to asserting their rights for health insurance or benefits provided under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009.
If you feel you are experiencing or have experienced workplace retaliation, contact Correia & Puth. We are passionate about providing employees the best possible protections from retaliation. Please contact us by e-mail or call us at 202-602-6500 for assistance with your retaliation legal claim.