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What Employees should Know to Prove a Retaliatory Discharge

Retaliation refers to the wrongful termination or punishment faced by an employee for reporting any illegal activity or unethical conduct of the employer or company, such as workplace safety violations, harassment, discrimination, and others. There are several laws that give workplace rights to employees and prohibit retaliation. They provide protection to employees from being fired or confront negative actions when they report against their employer. According to many federal and state laws, any form of retaliation is illegal, making employees eligible for compensation.

The Types of Evidence Required for Proving Retaliatory Discharge

When you file a retaliatory discharge lawsuit, you need to produce evidence showing link between the protected activity and the retaliatory conduct. The two types of evidence that can establish this connection are: direct evidence and circumstantial evidence.

Direct evidence includes any written or verbal statement indicating that your employer terminated you because of the participation in a protected activity or your complaints. Some examples of direct evidence are emails, conversations, and letters. Circumstantial evidence refers to events that happened during the time of termination and your participation in protected activity. It may include actions of your employer after or prior to firing you, such as demotion, making work difficult, and others. Such actions are indirect evidence showing that the employer retaliated.

The Elements of a Retaliatory Discharge Case

In order to prove that you were victim of retaliation to a court or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you need to show that:

  • You were terminated, fired, or punished in a certain way by the employer.
  • You rightfully opposed to the unlawful acts of your employer or participated in protected activities.
  • There is a direct or indirect relationship between the protected activity and your laying off from the employment.

It is imperative to establish that you were terminated because of your participation in protected activity instead of any other reason. In some cases, the employers casually admit to their retaliatory conduct and makes things easier for you, as it is a strong evidence to prove your case. However, if they don't make such confessions, you may have to use indirect evidence to prove retaliation. For example, timing is an important indicator that can help you establish a link between the events. Moreover, if you are fired for poor performance while your performance reviews show otherwise, you can use this to prove of your retaliation case.

What Damages can you recover from a Retaliatory Discharge Case?

If you file a claim against the employer with the help of your attorney wrongful termination attorney, you may recover damages such as:

  • Punitive damages
  • Back pay
  • Attorney's fees
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Future wages

Talk to an experienced Roselle wrongful termination attorney to discuss your case and get the rightful compensation for your losses. Contact the Law Office of Michael T. Smith today at 847.466.1099 for a consultation.

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