According to the figures released for fiscal year 2016 by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), retaliation is still the major cause of most workplace discrimination claims filed, accounting for more than 45.9% of the 91,503 charges of workplace discrimination received by the EEOC for fiscal 2016. Retaliation was followed by race discrimination charges, disability charges, sex and gender charges, age discrimination charges and more.
But what is retaliation? Employees have the right to file a complaint against the employer due to discrimination on the job or file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. They can also support such claims of co-workers, by participating in an employment related discrimination lawsuit or investigation as a witness.
However, when the employer takes an adverse action against the employee for any such deed, it is called retaliation. If the revenge game persists in the workplace for so long that it makes the working conditions hostile for the employee, s/he can file a charge against the employer, explains an employment lawyer at The Law Offices Texas Discrimination Attorney, a leading retaliation attorney firm in Austin and Houston Texas (TX).
How Retaliation Occurs
An article published by Vox in October 2017 stated that 75% of employees who spoke out against workplace harassment or mistreatment faced some form of retaliation. In 2016, anywhere from 25% to 85% women reported having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, according to data released by the EEOC.
However, most women didn’t come forward to file charges against the employer or colleague, due to fear of retaliation. They feared that they would not be believed and would face blame instead. What they were scared of the most was that they would be subjected to professional retaliation and might be fired from their jobs and defamed in their area of expertise due to the spread of false rumours.
In fact, a woman can be retaliated against by her employer even if she exercises her right to take leave under the Family & Medical Leave Act, to take care of a terminally-ill family member and take time off to be with a new baby.
As part of retaliation, the employer can harass, demote, fire or use other methods of intimidation against employees or even job applicants, apart from negative job actions, such as disciplining, salary reduction and job or shift reassignment to unfavorable hours. Employers should note that such treatment of employees is considered illegal under the laws enforced by the EEOC.
What are an Employee’s Rights?
Employees should know that an employer is not permitted by law to retaliate against an employee who applies for medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or against those who claim for reasonable accommodation of their disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Even if the employee has complained of harassment or discrimination via file Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the employer cannot retaliate against the employee involved.
Whether the charges are proven or not, an employee is protected by law from retaliation. They should contact an employment lawyer, such as those in Austin and Houston Texas (TX), as soon as possible as soon as they suspect any such action.