Employees enjoy more protection than ever from retaliation in the workplace thanks to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In an August 2016 final guidance, the EEOC made it clear that numerous activities cannot serve as the basis of an adverse employment action. Moreover, the EEOC maintains that certain workplace policies designed to discourage an employee from taking part in a protected activity can also rise to the level of retaliation. Employers who attempt to control their workforce by threatening layoffs, a reduction in hours, or reassignment to a less desirable position or shift can face steep consequences.
The EEOC has clarified its definition of what constitutes a protected activity in response to recent court decisions. An employee who refuses to follow an order that would result in discrimination – such as when a business owner directs managers to interview and hire only job applicants of a certain race or gender – cannot be punished for their noncompliance. Similarly, when a co-worker alleges discrimination, an employee who agrees to serve as a witness cannot be retaliated against for their participation. This protection from retaliation also extends to those interviewed in an investigation about potentially discriminatory practices in their workplace.
Sexual Harassment and Retaliation
Retaliation is also a concern whenever an employee levies allegations of sexual harassment. Employees have the right not only to resist sexual advances but also to intervene on behalf of others who have been sexually harassed according to the EEOC. Once a victim or witness has reported an instance of sexual harassment to a supervisor, the reporting employee is safe from retaliation. The protections from retaliation extend to anyone who complains that an employer has violated equal employment opportunity (EEO) rules, regardless of whether the complaint is filed by a job applicant, a current employee, or a former employee. The EEOC final guidance applies even to undocumented workers.
Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Seek Justice for Victims of Retaliation
Employees who resist orders to discriminate against customers or coworkers, who refuse to participate in illegal activities at the direction of their superiors, or who speak out against sexual harassment in the workplace are entitled to protection from retaliation. If you or a loved one was subject to an adverse employment action after participating in a protected activity, contact the Cherry Hill employment lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. We will investigate your claim and represent you in court. Complete this online questionnaire or call our Red Bank, New Jersey offices at 732-842-6500 or our Marlton, New Jersey offices at 856-985-9800, to learn how we can help.