Employment Retaliation Claims at All Time High

Employment retaliation lawsuits are at an all time high, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In fact, retaliatory employment practices now account for 36 percent of all claims filed – and have resulted in large verdicts and settlements against employers who refused to do the right thing.

Employees Say “We Aren't Going to Take It Anymore!”

Although employment retaliation lawsuits aren't anything new, the frequency at which they are filed has increased. The EEOC says that employment retaliation lawsuits now account for over a third (36 percent in 2009) of all claims filed. Employees who have been illegally retaliated against seem to be telling their employers that they simply aren't going to take it anymore – and they don't have to.

Employment law attorneys say that there is a “favorable legal landscape” for employment retaliation lawsuits right now – which is likely the result of the down-turned economy and juries who may be more sympathetic to employment law retaliation situations as they, or someone they know, may have also been a victim.

They point to large verdicts and settlements such a Santa Barbara administrator who filed an employment retaliation lawsuit against her employer after being discriminated against because of her religion. She was demoted shortly afterward and was awarded over $430,000 for past and future earnings and emotional distress.

What Is Employment Retaliation?

Employment retaliation includes any adverse employment action taken against an employee for filing a complaint or supporting a co-worker's complaint. An adverse employment action can include termination, demotion or any other type of repercussion taken against the employee. Some of the most common types of retaliation situations include complaints of harassment, age discrimination and racial discrimination. However, there are various employment laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibit employers from punishing employees who complain about their employer's actions.

Never Assume You Don't Have A Case

If you feel as though you've been “punished” for standing up for your rights, employment law attorneys say that it's important to understand that you may have a case and that it's always in your best interests to speak with an experienced employment law attorney to make that determination. Even if turns out not to be actionable, there are generally no out-of-pocket expenses. Most employment law attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis – which means that they don't get paid unless they collect on your behalf.