According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there has been a disturbing trend of employers retaliating against workers who assert their protected rights under the law. In fact, the EEOC reports that retaliation is the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination in the workplace. Data from the EEOC indicates that retaliation claims have increased from 44.5% in 2015 to 55.8% in 2020, making it the most commonly filed charge overall. If you have recently filed a workers’ compensation claim and you believe your employer is retaliating against you, it is important to understand your rights and take action to protect yourself.
What is Workplace Retaliation?
Retaliation in the workplace is when an employer takes adverse action against an employee because the employee has engaged in a protected activity. In other words, it is illegal for employers to punish workers for exercising their rights. There are many different types of protected activities that can lead to retaliation, but some of the most common include:
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Reporting workplace discrimination or harassment
- Threatening to file a charge of discrimination
- Refusing to obey an order that you believe to be discriminatory
These are only a few examples, but retaliation can take many different forms.
There are a few signs to know that may indicate that you’re experiencing employer retaliation. If you have experienced any of the following, it is important to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your rights and options:
- You are suddenly treated differently than other employees. For example, you are given more difficult assignments or less favorable hours. You may be excluded from team or company meetings or events.
- You are demoted or transferred to a different position or location, denied advancement opportunities, or have a salary reduction.
- You are subjected to increased scrutiny.
- You are given a disproportionately negative performance review or placed on a performance improvement plan.
- You are disciplined, suspended, or terminated from your job.
Of course, if you’re feeling miserable at work, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your employer is retaliating against you. But if you have experienced a sudden change in treatment at work and you believe it’s because you filed a workers’ compensation claim, it’s important to speak with an attorney to discuss your case.
What Should You Do if You Suspect Retaliation?
Missouri workers’ compensation law specifically prohibits employers from retaliating against workers who file workers’ compensation claims. If you believe that your employer is retaliating against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, the first step is to document everything that has happened. This includes keeping a detailed record of the dates and times of any incidents, as well as any witnesses who may have seen or heard what happened. It is also important to save any relevant correspondence, such as emails, text messages, or performance reviews.
In order for a retaliation lawsuit to be successful, the employee must prove that they experienced or witnessed unlawful discrimination and/or harassment in their workplace and that the employee engaged in protected workplace activity. If you have been the victim of workplace retaliation, you may be entitled to take legal action. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and will fight to protect your interests. There are numerous ways a workers’ compensation attorney can help including filing a complaint with the EEOC or a lawsuit against your employer, seeking reinstatement to your position, and obtaining compensatory damages, including lost wages and benefits, and emotional distress, and punitive damages.
Contact Us if You Suspect Your Employer is Retaliating Against You
If you believe that you have been the victim of employer retaliation, it is important to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Workplace retaliation under the law can be complex, and the process of filing a claim can be confusing. Our skilled attorneys will guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way. Contact us today to get started.