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Workplace retaliation: what is it and why you should get an attorney involved, P.1

In our last post, we briefly mentioned the issue of retaliation in the context of workplace sexual harassment. As we noted, it is important for employees who have been subjected to sexual harassment on the job, or some form of illegal discrimination, to avail themselves of any resources provided by the employer to report the incident or behavior, and to get the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involved when necessary.

Fear of retaliation can be a barrier to taking such action, though. Retaliation, according to the EEOC, is any action taken against an employee for taking action to oppose workplace discrimination or sexual harassment. To be considered retaliation, there must be some sort of adverse action against a covered individual which is taken on the basis of the individual’s partaking in protected activity. 

Adverse action can include a wide variety of behaviors and actions taken to keep an employee from opposing the illegal activity in the workplace or from taking part in an investigation into such activity. Inconsequential actions would not be considered adverse action, though.

The concept of covered individuals refers to those who oppose illegal activity in the workplaces, those who take parting in investigations or proceedings, those who request workplace accommodations. Those who are closely associated with an individual who engages in protected activity are considered covered individuals as well. Protected activity refers to things like opposition to the illegal workplace activity, participation in an employment discrimination proceeding, or requesting a reasonable workplace accommodation.

Those who believe they may have been subjected to retaliatory treatment on the job should get an experienced attorney involved right away to have their case evaluated and to determine their legal options. We’ll say more about how an experienced attorney can help in a future post. 

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