Federal law prohibits many forms of discrimination based on one’s protected class. This blog has posted about this before. However, what many employees may not know is that federal law also prohibits retaliation against these same people and others for protected activities.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explains that many actions can qualify as protected activities, and if an employer retaliates against an employee for any of these activities, they have broken federal law. First, filing or being part of an employment description lawsuit (testifying, depositions, etc.), investigation (answering questions, providing proof, etc.), complaint or charge is a protected activity.
Talking with superiors and management about employee discrimination is also protected. Refusing discriminatory orders, resisting sexual advances and protecting other employees also qualify. In addition, requesting a religious or disability accommodation qualify. Even discussing wages can be a protected activity, if it is to uncover discriminatory wages.
No discrimination needed
A key component of a retaliation claim is that there does not need to be any actual discrimination. Indeed, one need only have a reasonable belief that discrimination occurred to be protected.
Any action that would discourage a Georgia, worker from complaining of or resisting discrimination can qualify as illegal retaliation. For example, a lower performance evaluation or a reprimand could qualify. Transferring an employee could qualify, making one’s job more complicated or difficult and, of course, verbal and physical abuse could qualify as retaliation. Increased scrutiny of any kind, spreading rumors and treating family members negatively can also qualify. And, a frequent retaliation complaint from immigrants is the threat to contact the police or immigration.