Retaliatory Acts Leading to Wrongful Termination
Many times, when an employee complains about unfair labor practices, discriminatory behavior in the workplace, or otherwise assists in an unfair employment practice investigation, certain individuals work together to find ways of getting that employee terminated. The worst possibility is if the employer has an active role or direct participation in all of it.
Federal and state laws have been passed to protect employees and job applicants from any form of unfair and discriminatory practices in the workplace. These laws require the employers, especially, to make sure that their companies are free from discriminatory practices and that whoever would be proven guilty of such acts should be given the necessary disciplinary actions.
Despite the laws, however, the website of law firm Cary Kane says that many forms of discriminatory practices exist in many US firms, often resulting to wrongful termination.
In a wrongful termination case, dismissal of an employee constitutes an infringement on any of the terms covered in a company’s contract of employment, federal and state employment law and Employee Rights against wrongful termination.
The federal laws that prohibit employment discriminatory practices are contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits any form of workplace harassment, abuse and discrimination based on one’s sex or gender, race, color, national origin and religion. Though nor clearly stipulated, Title VII , nevertheless, also strictly prohibits retaliation against any employee who either makes, or helps make, evident prohibited acts, especially if the perpetrator is someone in authority.
Retaliation refers to any hostile act or behavior than an employer, employment agency or labor organization may resort to, to show dissatisfaction against an employee who plays a part in legally protected activities. While a hostile or adverse act can be any action, including denial of employment, unjust termination, unjustified negative evaluation, or threats of criminal or civil charges, that are intended to hinder an employee either from taking part in an employment discrimination proceeding or from complaining about a discriminatory act, a legally protected activity refers to any action aimed at exposing and proving harassment and/or discriminatory practices in the workplace. Protected activities include:
an employee’s refusal to perform discriminatory acts that are ordered by his/her superior;
complaining about or protesting against workplace discrimination;
resolving to file charges of employment discrimination or showing intent to file one; and,
participating as a witness in a legal proceeding or EEO investigation.
While a person who has been complained about will certainly not be pleased with the complainant, the latter will have to be objective in his/her judgment as to whether the alleged guilty individual is, indeed, resorting to retaliatory acts or is simply displeased. A strong conviction, however, of being retaliated upon may require the assistance of a good employment lawyer, whose knowledge and experience in discrimination laws will help the employee verify the truthfulness of his/her conviction as well as help him/her make a correct and timely filing of the case.