Not only do you have the right to work in a non-hostile environment, free from discrimination, but you also have the right to speak out against discrimination without being fired or retaliated against by your employer in any other fashion. Under statute 44-1001, the Kansas Act Against Discrimination, it is unlawful for an employer to “discharge, expel or otherwise discriminate against any person” when that person opposed the employer’s discrimination, filed a complaint, or testified or assisted in proceedings under the statute. Federal laws under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who have spoken up against discrimination or filed a workplace harassment or discrimination claim.
What Counts as Retaliation?
Many employees may have experienced retaliation for making informal complaints or opposing workplace discrimination without even realizing it. This is because far too few employees understand their rights in the workplace, which enables employers to take advantage. Common types of retaliation due to formal complaints of discrimination and lawsuits include the following:
- Firing the employee or forcing him or her to resign;
- Threatening the employee in any way, including threatening his or her job or life outside of work;
- Harassing the employee;
- Transferring the employee to a less desirable position or department;
- Refusing to promote the employee;
- Increasing surveillance of the employee;
- Making attacks on the employee’s character;
- Giving poor performance reviews that are not based on the employee’s actual performance;
- Damaging an employee’s chances of future employment with other employers, when unrelated to his or her actual performance.
In order for the negative act to be considered retaliation, it cannot be an isolated incident and it must be more substantial than an offhand remark or a strained relationship between you and your employer or another coworker. The retaliation must be substantial and/or sustained.
You have the right to engage in certain protected activities that oppose your employer’s discrimination based on race, color, national origin or ethnicity, disability, gender, age, or religion. These protected activities are non-violent forms of protest but cannot interfere with the company’s ability to conduct business. According to the EEOC, the following are examples of protected activities:
- Filing a complaint, EEOC charge, or discrimination lawsuit;
- Being a witness or partaking in an investigation;
- Talking to or writing to a supervisor or manager about the discrimination or harassment;
- Answering questions during an investigation about an employer’s alleged harassment;
- Refusing to follow an employer’s orders to discriminate;
- Protecting others by intervening;
- Resisting sexual advances;
- Requesting accommodations for a disability, religious or ethnic practices, or pregnancy/nursing accommodations; and
- Talking to co-workers or managers about salaries in order to uncover potential wage discrimination.
Call a Kansas City Employment Retaliation Lawyer
An employment attorney is here to assist you in the process of filing a claim or lawsuit against your employer for retaliation due to discrimination. Whether you were acting on behalf of a coworker or experienced discrimination yourself and spoke out against it, your employer must be held to justice. Do not wait any longer to call the Kansas City law offices of HKM Employment Attorneys today for assistance.