Federal and Washington law forbid employers from punishing job applicants or employees for asserting their rights to be free from employment discrimination and harassment. Asserting these rights is called “protected activity,” and can take many forms. For example, it is unlawful to retaliate against applicants or employees for:
- filing or being a witness in discrimination charge, complaint, investigation, or lawsuit,
- reporting employment discrimination or harassment to a supervisor, manager, or HR,
- answering questions during an employer investigation into alleged harassment,
- refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination,
- resisting sexual advances, or intervening to protect others,
- requesting accommodation of a disability or for a religious practice, or
- asking managers or co-workers about salary information to uncover potentially discriminatory wages.
A complaining employee need not necessarily be correct that the underlying conduct was unlawful to benefit from the prohibition against retaliation, so long as he or she has a good-faith belief that the employer acted unlawfully. Retaliation can take many forms, including:
- reprimands or performance critiques that are unwarranted;
- transfers to a less desirable position;
- verbal or physical abuse;
- threats to make or actual reports to authorities (such as reporting immigration status or contacting the police);
- increased scrutiny;
- spreading false rumors, treating family members negatively (for example, cancel a contract with the person’s spouse); or
- making the person’s work more difficult (for example, punishing an employee for reporting discrimination by purposefully changing her work schedule to conflict with family responsibilities).
Retaliation is one of the most frequently alleged bases of discrimination, and SGB attorneys have vast experience successfully litigating retaliation and whistleblower claims and have worked tirelessly to safeguard the law’s promise of a retaliation-free workplace.
Contact SGB Retaliation & Whistleblower Lawyers – We’re ready to fight for your rights.
If you or someone you love has suffered from retaliation, SGB is here to help. There is no charge for us to review your potential claim. Employment cases are either accepted on contingency or billed hourly. We discuss our fees upfront with our clients. Contact us today or fill out our intake questionnaire.