When you learn that your employer has violated US or Georgia employment laws or engaged in workplace-related misconduct, you will no doubt feel compelled to bring the situation to the attention of government officials. At the same time, you might be hesitant to do so. Your employer will not be pleased, so you probably fear some sort of retribution for your actions. It is a relief to know that workplace retaliation is unlawful, and companies can face serious penalties for misconduct. In addition, you do have rights as an employee.
Because of the potential for sanctions, you might assume that Georgia employers would never engage in unlawful retaliation. The problem is that misconduct can be subtle or difficult to pinpoint. A Georgia wrongful retaliation attorney can assess whether your employer has engaged in illegal acts, but there are some signs you should note.
Why You Need to Know the Signs of Unlawful Retaliation: The primary reason you should be able to recognize illegal actions by your employer is because you want to protect your livelihood. Another is that you could qualify for compensation if your employer did engage in retaliation and it caused you harm. The legal process involves filing a claim with the relevant state or federal agencies, possibly followed by civil litigation in some cases. Depending on your circumstances, you could recover back pay and advance pay, interest, attorneys’ fees, and other compensation. Plus, you may be entitled to equitable relief, such as reinstatement of your position, a promotion, pay raise, or other remedies.
The process may seem overwhelming, but the statistics indicate that many people in your position do take action: Data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicates retaliation is the most often cited basis for discrimination and the most frequent finding in cases arising in the federal sector.
Take Action if You Experience Subtle Signs of Retaliation by an Employer: Companies rarely retaliate in ways that are blatant or obvious, so it is up to you as an employee to recognize the signs. In general, retaliation is any materially adverse action taken by an employer that would deter an employee from engaging in protected activities. Examples include:
- Filing a charge regarding discrimination or harassment;
- Participating in a government agency’s investigation of your employer;
- Seeking wage information related to compliance with Georgia’s Equal Pay Act;
- Refusing to follow an employer’s instructions, when doing so would discriminate against another employee;
- Resisting sexual advances or intervening when a co-worker is experiencing harassment;
- Requesting reasonable accommodations under Georgia’s Equal Employment for Persons with Disabilities Code; and,
- Many others.
The key with an unlawful retaliation case is what happens after you engage in protected activities. You should reach out to an unlawful retaliation attorney if you experienced any of the following:
- Termination or firing;
- A demotion or reduction of pay;
- Reprimand or other official disciplinary action;
- Changes in your work conditions, which may involve an unfavorable schedule, location, or other factors;
- Placing an unfair negative performance review or other harmful information as part of your employee file;
- Being excluded from staff meetings, training activities, or other company events.
Get in Touch with a Georgia Unlawful Retaliation Lawyer Right Away
If you believe you were the subject of illegal retaliation in the workplace, it is essential to discuss your rights and remedies with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. To learn about our legal services in unlawful retaliation cases and other areas of employment law, please call the Vaughn Law Firm. You can set up a no-cost consultation by calling our Decatur, GA office at 877.615.9495 or visiting us online.