“Retaliation” in the workplace constitutes of firing, demoting, or harassing workers or applicants because they have complained about employment discrimination based on age, color, disability, race, religion, or sex
The practice of retaliation is illegal. An employer or any person acting on behalf of the employer can be held liable under several statutes, which protect employees or applicants.
In January 2011, the Supreme Court interpreted on broader terms the anti-discriminatory and anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Its ruling on Thompson v North American Stainless LP (NAS) now makes it clear that the practice of retaliating against a third party closely associated with the direct complainant is also illegal. In this case, the high court ruled that Title VII granted Eric Thompson, an NAS worker the right to charge his employer with retaliation. His fiancée Miriam Regalado – another NAS worker – had filed a sexual harassment claim against NAS and, as a consequence, NAS fired Thompson.
The Supreme Court held that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision prohibits any employer action that attempts to “dissuade a reasonable worker from making or supporting a [discrimination] charge”.
Aggrieved parties are “covered individuals” described by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces laws against discrimination in the workplace. Covered individuals include people who directly oppose unlawful employment practices, and those who have assisted in investigations or participated in proceedings relating to the charges – even if they are mere witnesses. This provision attempts to ensure that employment discrimination litigations are not manipulated toward a particular outcome, usually in favor of the employers.
The clearer, more defined interpretation of Title VII further protects employees or applicants’ rights to equal opportunity in the workplace. According to the EEOC, in 2011, there were 37,334 retaliation complaints filed against employers. This statistic represents a significant increase of retaliation charges being filed over the past ten years – which may indicate that employers are engaging in more retaliatory actions, possibly employees or applicants are reporting such actions more frequently or a combination thereof.
If you feel that you’ve been the victim of retaliation, or would like to have an attorney review your documents to ensure that your rights are protected, contact the New York Retaliation Lawyer at The Sanders Firm, P.C., today. The Sanders Firm, P.C., your voice for justice.