Workplace retaliation happens when an employer takes negative actions against an employee who has exercised their right to participate in a protected activity. Workplace retaliation can come in many forms such as dismissal from your current role, transfer to a less favorable station or role, pay reduction or an unfavorable performance appraisal.
If you are a victim of workplace retaliation, you need to act. This is where state and federal laws come in.
So what can you recover?
Before suing your employer for workplace retaliation, you must start off by filing a complaint with the federal agency that is tasked with handling labor-related disputes, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you cannot resolve the matter through the EEOC, then you should obtain a right-to-sue letter so you can file a civil lawsuit against your employer.
During your lawsuit, you will be seeking compensation for the losses you have suffered following your employer’s retaliatory actions. Here are some of these damages:
If your employer’s retaliatory action comes in the form of a termination of your employment contract or demotion from your role, then you may pursue them for the salary that you would otherwise receive had they not acted the way they did. This is known as “back pay.” You may also sue for wages that you would have earned in the future if you are not reinstated back to your role. This is known as “front pay.”
It is not uncommon for some job benefits to be tied to the number of your work hours or the nature of your employment contract. For instance, if you are on a full-time contract, then you may be entitled to annual bonuses. If you’ve lost any benefits due to your employer’s retaliatory actions, then you may cite these too in your lawsuit.
Every employee has a right to participate in a protected activity. Knowing your legal options can help you safeguard your rights if your employer retaliates against you.