While our legislatures, both national and state, have taken steps to outlaw the most insidious forms of employment discrimination, in the real world many employees are still afraid to come forward. Whether they themselves have been the victim of discrimination, or whether they have just seen it happen to a coworker, they are afraid that coming forward will cost them their own jobs. While that is possible, it is against the law. If your employer punishes you for opposing an unlawful employment practice like illegal discrimination, that is called retaliation. Retaliation is illegal, and you have a right to sue if you are retaliated against.
What Federal Laws Protect People From Retaliation?
Which federal law you are protected from retaliation by depends on what sort of discrimination claim is involved. If the claim involves disability discrimination, you would be covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act. If the retaliation is over an age discrimination claim, you are covered by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. If the retaliation is due to a complaint of discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or sex (including pregnancy discrimination), then you are protected by the Civil Rights Act. Regardless of which act you are protected by, the protections are basically the same. However, the protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act are a little bit broader in scope than some of the others. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “Retaliation occurs when an employer, employment agency, or labor organization takes an adverse action against a covered individual because he or she engaged in a protected activity.” Protected activities include opposition to a practice believed to be unlawful discrimination, participation in an employment discrimination proceeding, and requesting a reasonable accommodation based on religion or disability.
What Oregon State Laws Protect People from Retaliation?
The Oregon law that deals with discrimination cases is Oregon Revised Statute 659A.030. In addition to dealing with claims of discrimination, however, that statute also explains that employer retaliation against employees for challenges to a discriminatory practice is also illegal. The relevant part of the statute says it is an unlawful employment practice:
“For any person to discharge, expel or otherwise discriminate against any other person because that other person has opposed any unlawful practice, or because that other person has filed a complaint, testified or assisted in any proceeding under this chapter or has attempted to do so.”
Contact an Experienced Employment Law Attorney at HKM
Sometimes people choose to start the process of complaining about workplace discrimination without hiring a lawyer. If you have done that, and now you are being retaliated against at work for making your complaint, it is not too late for you to seek out legal counsel. We here at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP are experienced with handling discrimination retaliation cases, and we would love to discuss your case with you to see if we can help. You can call us at (503) 398-1130.