If you confided in your parents about bullying at school when you were a child, your parents probably advised you to stick up for yourself, but it is easier said than done. What if the bullies only ramp up their insults if you deliver a witty comeback, or if they punch you harder after you punch back? What happens if you complain to a teacher, and in response, the bullies simply add “tattle-tale” to the list of insulting names with which they taunt you? Unfortunately, the school yard is not the only place where this sort of behavior happens. It also happens in the workplace, and some of the people who perpetuate it are in positions of authority within their organizations. The legal term for the bullying of employees who exercise their legal rights is employer retaliation, and it is as ugly as it sounds. If your employer took an adverse action against you or if your supervisor started harassing you because you stood up for yourself at work, contact a New York City retaliation lawyer.
What is a Protected Activity in New York?
Employer retaliation is when an employer takes an adverse action against an employee in response to the employee engaging in a legally protected activity. Protected activities are things that you have the right to do, even though they might annoy or inconvenience your employer, and your employer does not have the right to punish you for doing them. These are some examples of protected activities:
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim after getting injured at work or receiving a diagnosis of an occupational disease
- Requesting an unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave or paid family leave (PFL)
- Complaining about discrimination in the workplace
- Reporting a workplace safety hazard to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Requesting an accommodation for a disability
- Engaging in a whistleblower action or reporting misconduct or illegal activities at your workplace to law enforcement or to a regulatory body
- Participating in an investigation about alleged crimes, OSHA violations, discrimination, or any other kind of misconduct at your place of employment
If your employer retaliates against you for doing any of these things, the New York City employer retaliation lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP can help you. If you have not yet done the protected activity but are worried that your employer will retaliate against you when you do, it is not too soon to talk to a lawyer.
What is an Adverse Action in NYC?
Adverse actions are things that employers have the right to do in response to misconduct or exceptionally poor job performance by employees; if the employee has intentionally harmed the employer or made an egregious mistake, then it is reasonable for the employer to take an adverse action against the employee. These are some examples of adverse actions:
- Refusal to hire
- Unfairly negative employee performance evaluations
- Denial of promotions or raises
- Excessive scrutiny of the employee’s work
- Harassment, also known as hostile work environment
- Demotion or transferring the employee to a different work location, schedule, or job duties when the employee did not request this
- Termination of employment
- Refusal to provide a positive reference for a former employee seeking a new job
If the employer takes an adverse action in response to the employee engaging in one of the protected activities listed above, then it is employer retaliation. The New York City employer retaliation lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP can help you seek appropriate remedies if your employer retaliated against you for engaging in a protected activity.
What is the Difference Between Discrimination and Retaliation in New York City?
Employment discrimination is against the law, and so is employer retaliation, and it is possible that the same adverse action counts as both. Discrimination is when an employer unfairly takes one or more adverse actions against an employee or refuses to hire a job candidate based on a protected characteristic of the employee or candidate. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other pieces of legislation define the characteristics that are protected from employment discrimination. These are some examples of protected characteristics:
- Race, ethnic background, or skin color
- National origin
- Religion, sect, or lack of religious affiliation
- Age (if the employee is 40 years old or older)
- Citizenship status (as long as you are legally authorized to work in the United States, employers cannot reject your application because of your immigration status, with the exception of some federal jobs that are only open to U.S. citizens)
- Sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or gender preference
- Family status or pregnancy
Where discrimination and retaliation often overlap is when an employee who complains about discrimination files a discrimination complaint. Filing a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the New York Division of Human Rights, or the New York Commission on Human Rights is a protected activity. If your employer retaliates against you with harassment or some other adverse action, you should contact a New York City employer retaliation lawyer.
Building a Strong Case in a New York City Employer Retaliation Lawsuit
To win a lawsuit against your employer about retaliation, you must prove that the employer’s motivation for taking an adverse action against you was to get back at you for engaging in a protected activity. Your employer will probably try to argue that they had some reason for firing you or demoting you after you engaged in the protected activity; they might even come up with a laundry list of things you have done wrong at your job. The New York City employer retaliation lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP can help you document all the evidence you need to show that your employer was not justified in taking the adverse action and that it was an act of retaliation for the protected activity.
Contact HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP About Employer Retaliation in New York City
The employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP can help you with your claims related to employer retaliation. Contact the employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in New York, New York to set up a consultation.