Filing A Lawsuit For Employer Retaliation

Employment Lawyers Help Workers File Claims for Retaliation

Attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, P.C. know that the various wage-hour and employment discrimination laws make it unlawful for employers to take certain adverse actions against employees. For example, employers may not discriminate based on certain characteristics such as sex. Employers also may not pay less than minimum wage or decline to pay proper overtime wages. Many workplace laws also make it unlawful to retaliate against workers when they assert their workplace rights. An employee may be able to file claims for both the underlying illegal behavior and retaliation.

Violations of the substantive provisions of federal laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VIIand the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) make up some of the claims we file on behalf of workers. We help clients recover overtime and other wages owed to them when their employers violate the FLSA. We also assist clients protected by Title VII and the ADA when they face discrimination or harassment in the workplace because of things like gender, age, race, and disability.

Many of the workplace discrimination and unpaid wage cases we tackle also involve allegations of retaliation. When employees take steps to protect their rights or secure wages that legally belong to them, employers sometimes “punish them.” Retaliation claims frequently accompany discrimination, and wage-hour claims and employees can recover monetary compensation for both.

At Leeds Brown, we represent clients in New York City and the surrounding areas in all types of employment and wage-hour cases. If you have tried to assert your rights in the workplace and your employer has punished you for doing so, let us know. We are seasoned advocates who aggressively fight to secure safe environments and fair wages for workers, and can help you take steps to recover damages for retaliation and other violations of your employment rights.

What do the Laws Say?

In 2013 nearly 50% of claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) included allegations of retaliation. The same year retaliation formed the basis of 42% of the findings of discrimination. In most of these cases, there was a discriminatory allegation other than retaliation, but it was the retaliation that resulted in the discriminatory finding.

Title VII states that it shall be unlawful to discriminate against someone “because he has opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice by this subchapter, or because he has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing.” The same goes for the FLSA. The purpose of the anti-retaliation language is to ensure that people can come forward to prevent unlawful activity without fear of repercussions. The EEOC and United States Department of Labor (DOL) want employees to spot violations and cooperate in putting a stop to them.

Fewer FLSA cases involve retaliation than Title VII cases, but according to a NERA Economic Consulting 2015 report on trends in wage and hour settlements, the DOL found that approximately 8% of back pay wage violations included some retaliatory punishment.

How do Employers Retaliate Against Employees?

Retaliation occurs when an employer makes a decision that adversely affects an employee, based on that employee’s exercise of his or her rights. Any employment decision can be an act of retaliation when it negatively affects the individual. Frequent acts of retaliation by an employer include:

  • Firing an employee
  • Refusing to pay an earned bonus
  • Demoting a worker
  • Transferring an employee to a less desirable or less lucrative position
  • Withholding paychecks
  • Harassing an employee
  • Giving negative performance reviews

Examples of Workplace Retaliation

Workplace retaliation occurs with frequency, but it is not always blatant. Proving retaliation sometimes depends on indirect evidence and details such as the timing of the adverse employment decision and the work performance history of the worker. Leeds Brown has the experience and skill to help investigate the facts and subtleties of your situation and determine whether you have a claim for retaliation.

Some examples of what retaliation may look like in an FLSA unpaid wages case or a Title VII discrimination case include:

  • Your co-worker confides in you that your boss is sexually harassing her. You confront him and ask him to please leave her alone. You notify Human Resources as well. You get fired the following day.
  • You and another employee apply for a promotion. You had previously filed and resolved an EEOC discrimination complaint that involved one the people on the interview panel. You heard her tell another panelist “now is my chance to get even with this one.” The promotion goes to the other applicant.
  • You ask your supervisor why you did not receive overtime pay even though you worked 50 hours in one workweek. He tells you that if you want to keep your job, you will be happy with your paycheck or he will find someone else who wants your spot. Your supervisor then cuts your hours down to 20 per week.
  • You advise the manager of the restaurant where you are a waiter that he can’t make you share your gratuities with him. He advises you never to mention it again or he will take all of your gratuities. When you file an unpaid wage claim to recover the tips he is stealing, the manager fires you.

Contact Us

Lawyers at Leeds Brown, representing clients in New York City, Long Island and the entire metropolitan area, have dedicated decades to helping people enforce their workplace rights. Whether your employer owes you wages and overtime, or you have endured discrimination or harassment, you have recourse. If you have experienced retaliation in response to efforts you have made to seek help, we can help with this too. We understand the importance of making sure that workers are free to report wrongdoing and unlawful behavior without fear of punishment. Leeds Brown can help hold your employer accountable and assist you to secure monetary compensation for the damages you have suffered because of retaliation.

Someone is available to take your call 24/7 at 1-800-585-4658. Contact experienced, professional employment attorneys for a free consultation today. Time may be of the essence so don’t wait.