Have you made a complaint about unlawful discriminatory treatment in your workplace? Has your employer taken negative action against you because of your complaint? If so, you may have the right to pursue a claim for compensation due to your employer’s retaliation against you. Federal and state law gives employees the right to pursue compensation when they have been unlawfully retaliated against for filing a complaint or helping another person file a complaint.
Fighting for Cincinnati Employee’s Rights
HKM Employment Attorneys represents employees who have been retaliated against for engaging and protected conduct or being a protected class member. When you meet with us, we will review your case in detail and help you understand your legal options. We represented employees in Cincinnati and throughout Ohio who’ve been retaliated against for:
- Reporting their employer’s illegal activity to a third party, also called whistleblowing
- Being pregnant
- Reporting discrimination or harassment
- Practicing their religion
- Providing details about their sexual orientation
- Serving in the US military
- Requesting overtime or additional benefits
What Constitutes Unlawful Retaliation in Ohio?
Unlawful retaliation cases can involve retaliation for an employee reporting many different types of unlawful behavior, including sexual harassment. Retaliation claims can also involve an employee reporting the following types of unlawful behavior:
- National origin
- Age (over 40)
- Sexual orientation
Examples of Adverse Actions Taken By Employers to Retaliate Against Employees
Retaliation against an employee isn’t limited to wrongful discharge. Being terminated from your job for filing a claim against your employer is a form of unlawful retaliation. However, employers can wrongly retaliate against their employees in many other ways. Any adverse action taken against an employee for filing a claim can be considered retaliation.
Retaliation can range from discrete, subtle actions to more obvious acts of retaliation, like firing an employee and telling the employee they are being fired for filing a claim. Some of the most common types of adverse actions employers take against employees when retaliating against them include the following:
- Verbal or physical threats
- Determination of employment
- Denial of promotions
- Being assigned to less desirable duties
- Reduction in hours
- Reduction and benefits
- Reduction in pay
- Changing work schedules that conflict with an employee’s family responsibilities
- Unfair performance evaluations
- Threats of reporting to authorities such as immigration authorities or law enforcement
Ohio and Federal Laws that Protect Employees From Retaliation
Retaliation claims usually fall under the anti-discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. There are also retaliation protections in the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act (Wage Law), among others. The Ohio Civil Rights Act and Ohio Revised Code 4112 protect employees from unlawful retaliation.
Proving Your Retaliation Case
The Ohio labor law and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act give employees the legal right to pursue a claim against their employers for retaliation. Not all unfair treatment from your employer is considered unlawful retaliation. To succeed in a retaliation lawsuit, you must provide evidence showing you can meet all the elements of an unlawful retaliation claim. Specifically, you will need to prove each of the following elements:
- You were engaged in a protected activity, such as filing a complaint against your employer on your own behalf or behalf of another employee
- You suffered an adverse employment action, and
- There is a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action
What is a Protected Activity?
You must show that you were engaged in a protected activity to succeed in your retaliation claim. Protected activities include the following:
- Submitting a complaint of discriminatory treatment
- Filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Filing a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission
- Testifying, assisting, or participating in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing regarding unlawful discriminatory treatment at your workplace
You also need to prove causation, that the unfair treatment you or another person was subjected to or suffered occurred because of your or their membership in a protected class. You must also prove that your employer took adverse action against you. It is important that you save any emails, text messages, or other evidence that your employer has taken adverse action against you.
Suppose the conversation was verbal between you and your manager or employer. Write down what was said after the conversation occurred. Finally, you will need to prove that there is a causal connection between you filing a complaint and your attorney retaliating against you. Gathering all documentation available about your employer’s actions can help you prove that you were retaliated against because of your complaint.
Steps to Take if You Have Been Retaliated Against
If your employer has retaliated against you, or you suspect that you will be fired, demoted, or otherwise retaliated against, the steps you take are important. You should write a complaint to your supervisor and/or your human resources department. A written record of complaints containing details of the incidents can help your case tremendously. Try to obtain a copy of your employee handbook or your employee’s policies so you can follow their procedures when making a complaint.
Your complaint should specifically mention one or more of the protected classes. For example, your complaint may state that my supervisor treats me differently than other employees, and I believe it is because of my race. It is also essential that you reach out to an attorney, especially if your employee has engaged in an adverse action against you.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Employment Attorney
HKM Employment Attorneys have an in-depth knowledge of federal and state employment laws. We understand which laws protect employees from being retaliated against for reporting discrimination, harassment, or other unlawful behavior in the workplace. HKM Employment Attorneys have a proven track record of successfully advocating for employees. If you have been retaliated against because you filed a complaint against your employer, contact HKM Employment Attorneys to schedule a case evaluation and learn more about how we can fight for you and your rights.