When employees complain against their employers about harassment, discrimination, or any other illegal act, they often face retaliation, leading to negative consequences for their job. However, several federal and state laws are in place that provide protection to such employees from unfavorable treatment and retaliatory discharge for asserting their rights and doing the right thing. Employees can file a retaliation claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and get compensation for the difficulties and damages they suffered as a result. However, they must establish the following three things in order to prove their claim:
- They were engaged in a protected activity
- The employer retaliated against you for engaging in that protected activity
- The retaliation was a result of your protected activity, i.e. the employer's actions had a direct connection to the protected activity
It is essential that you prove all of these points to prove that your employer retaliated against you.
Reporting Violations of the Law by Your Employer
An employer is prohibited to terminate or fire an employee for reporting a criminal or any other activity breaching the law to the management or government regulatory bodies. If an employee refuses to participate in an illegal activity, an employer cannot take actions, like firing, changing departments, or demoting to punish them. The EEOC provides protection for retaliatory discharge when an employee makes an external report to the government regulators or law enforcement agencies, or internal report to the senior management.
If you are terminated from your job due to your employer's retaliation, you can bring a claim against them when you have:
- Reported the violation of the law by your co-worker, supervisor, or employer to a government regulatory authority or organization's management
- Reported Medicare fraud
- Reported health code violations
- Reported breach of OSHA safety protocol
- Reported sales of expired products or food items
- Reported incidents that violate the provisions of the Nursing Home Care Act to the Illinois Department of Public Health and/or the management
- Reported elder abuse in a nursing home to the regulatory authorities or law enforcement
- Reported neglect or abuse of residents of a nursing home to the Illinois Department of Public Health
- Reported incidents of child labor or abuse to law enforcement or management
- Refused to falsely testify or commit perjury to cover up employer's illegal actions
- Refused to tamper with a federal tax record for your employer
- Participated in jury duty
- Attended court when subpoenaed
- Reported unsuitable conditions or violations of health code for proper food storage
These are just a few examples of circumstances when you can face retaliation from your employer and negative consequences as a result. If you have suffered from retaliatory discharge because you complained about an illegal activity, you should consult your case with an experienced retaliatory discharge attorney. They will explain your rights and what actions you can take to remedy your situation. Contact the Law Office of Michael T. Smith today at 847.466.1099 to schedule an initial consultation with an employment discrimination attorney.