Employment discrimination is against the law, yet it continues to occur regularly in many workplaces in St. Louis and across the country. If that was not bad enough, some employers take retaliatory actions against an employee to try and intimidate him or her or quash any potential public reporting of the employer’s nefarious and illegal actions.
Because both Missouri and the federal government want to promote the reporting of workplace discrimination and encourage employees with knowledge of discrimination to come forward, both federal and state law punishes retaliation against reporting employees. Similar to whistleblower protection laws, federal employment discrimination laws and the Missouri Human Rights Act make it illegal to fire someone who reports illegal workplace discrimination.
If you have been fired after reporting discrimination at work or supporting the actions of someone who did report discrimination, you may have a claim for retaliation. It is important to consult with an employment discrimination attorney to determine whether you may have a claim for retaliation damages. While retaliation claims are regularly filed, few are successful for various reasons. Consulting with an attorney early on will not only help you determine whether you have a claim, but will also increase your chances of success when filing for wrongful termination.
When is Retaliation Prohibited in Employment Discrimination Cases?
In general, most but not all federal employment discrimination laws prevent retaliation against an employee for speaking out about workplace discrimination. Title VII (which protects against race, gender, and nationality discrimination), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act all have anti-retaliation provisions. Those provisions would all prevent the firing of an employee for reporting discrimination at work.
In addition, the Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits retaliation against certain classifications of persons. That law makes it illegal to terminate an employee for speaking out about an employer’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age or disability discrimination against any employee.
Retaliation in Response to Workplace Harassment Claim Filings
Unfortunately, the human resources departments of many employers are either not helpful or are overtly hostile to employees bringing claims of workplace harassment. This is true for many different reasons, which are too numerous to discuss here. However, the fact remains that on occasion, employers will terminate employees who either file internal harassment grievances or support those who do. Such termination is often in violation of federal law where the harassment was on the basis of one’s protected classification such as race or gender.
How to Prove a Retaliation Claim
Proving a retaliation claim is no easy feat. In general, retaliation claims require proof that the person bringing the lawsuit participated in some type of protected activity such as reporting workplace discrimination and was adversely affected for reporting that activity. Proving that retaliation was the basis of a wrongful termination claim can be tricky, however, because most employers will not admit to retaliating. Normally, the employee must prove that whatever reason the employer gave for the termination was merely pretext for retaliation.
St. Louis Employer Retaliation Attorney Ready to Help You
If you suspect you are being subjected to retaliation by your employer, the legal team of HKM Employment Attorneys LLP is ready to help you during this difficult period of your life. Our St. Louis law firm is experienced in helping clients in employment discrimination claims, including claims involving retaliation. We take pride in providing effective and aggressive representation for all of our clients. Contact our St. Louis employer retaliation law firm today.