Phoenix Workplace Retaliation Lawyers
Employers have a lot of leeway to decide who remains in their workforce and receives promotions and benefits. However, some reasons that employers give for punishing or firing an employee are against the law. If your employer unlawfully retaliates against you, consult with an experienced Phoenix workplace retaliation attorney at Shields Petitti & Zoldan, PLC. We are highly respected and well-known in the Arizona legal community, and we can help secure the maximum amount of remedies available to you.
When Is Workplace Retaliation Illegal?
There are many state and federal laws that forbid your employer from taking adverse employment action against you. These limitations on an employer are called protected activities. Protected activities include:
- Reporting an employer’s wage and hour law violation,
- Reasonably disclosing what the employee believes to be illegal workplace activity,
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim,
- Helping with an investigation into the employer’s violation of the law,
- Reporting workplace discrimination,
- Exercising the employee’s right to be free from the extortion of fees or gratuities,
- Serving on a jury,
- Refusing to engage in illegal behavior,
- Exercising the employee’s right to vote,
- Serving in the military,
- Exercising the employee’s right to agree or decline to become a member of a labor organization,
- Taking leave to attend legal proceedings to prosecute a crime or juvenile offense that victimized the employee, and
- Refusing coercion to buy supplies or goods from any particular vendor as a term of employment.
Sometimes your access to legal safeguards against retaliation depends on the size of your employer’s workforce and how you exercise your rights. To help make sure you properly take advantage of state and federal protections, you should speak to one of our Phoenix workplace retaliation lawyers immediately.
What Are Common Workplace Retaliation Examples?
In 2021, 59% of the employment discrimination complaints that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received from the State of Arizona were complaints of unlawful retaliation.
Retaliation comes in many forms. Any of the following workplace actions can be a type of actionable retaliation if it is motivated by an employee exercising their rights:
- Job termination,
- Hostile work environment or quid pro quo harassment,
- Denial of work benefits,
- Undesirable job assignment,
- Refusal to hire,
- Unwanted job transfer,
- Exclusion from work events,
- Unwarranted disciplinary action, and
- Negative job review.
And when an employer retaliates against you in an unlawful way, it is not always obvious. For instance, you might not get fired or demoted for reporting a workplace safety violation, but you might notice that your boss no longer assigns you to handle lucrative client accounts like before. This is an example of a kind of illegal retaliation that can fly right under the radar.
How to Prove Retaliation in the Workplace
With all the overt and covert ways unethical employers can infringe on employee rights, you need to be methodical and diligent about gathering evidence of workplace retaliation from the beginning.
As soon as you suspect retaliation, talk to a lawyer. Hiring a Phoenix workplace retaliation attorney to prove your case is an essential step to take toward a legal victory. You should also start taking notes of every instance of adverse employment actions taken against you. Don’t just wait for the big and painful events such as a pay reduction or reassignment; you should take note of every time a supervisor treats you in a way that they did not treat you before you exercised your rights (you should also take note of exactly what was done each time).
In addition to taking notes about how your employment relationship has changed since you asserted your rights, you should collect evidence to prove that your employer did not have cause to punish you or that your employer’s motivations were against the law. This evidence could include the following:
- Employer correspondence,
- Employment policies,
- Witness testimony,
- Personnel records,
- Disciplinary records,
- Wage records,
- Complaint records, and
- Information about your educational and professional history.
The above evidence could prove an unlawful employer motive, suspicious timing that would indicate a prohibited reason for retaliation, or illegal disparate treatment of similarly situated employees.
Filing a Retaliation Complaint
You can hold your employer accountable for unlawful retaliation in many ways. If the retaliation you experience is the product of you asserting your rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, you can file a complaint with the EEOC. For many federal wage, safety, or whistleblower complaints, you can submit a claim to the U.S. Department of Labor. If you have a state wage claim, you can file it with the Industrial Commission of Arizona. And if you have a complaint based on the violation of a state anti-discrimination law, you can file your complaint with the Arizona Attorney General. Speak to an attorney about how and where to initiate your claim.
We Can Help Defend Your Rights
Unfortunately, sometimes you have to fight for your livelihood, and we can take on that task for you at Shields Petitti & Zoldan. Our award-winning attorneys have more than 80 years of combined experience and the respect of our peers. When other attorneys prefer to avoid the courtroom, we are ready to fight and litigate on your behalf. If you need our help, please give us a call or contact us online to schedule an appointment.
What Kind of Remedies Are Available in a Retaliation Complaint?
Your remedies in a successful claim could include payment for your financial losses, compensation for your emotional distress, punitive damages to punish employers that act egregiously, legal costs, and injunctive relief. To receive the most you can out of your complaint, you should enlist the help of a strong and seasoned advocate.
How Long Do I Have to File a Retaliation Complaint?
The length of time you have to initiate legal action depends on the nature of your case. In some cases, you may have 180 days to file a complaint based on reporting unlawful discrimination. And you have between one and three years to file a complaint regarding wage and hour violations. To ensure that you timely file your complaint, consult with one of our lawyers at the first sign of retaliation.
Our employment lawyers are also able to assist you with the following cases: