Workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are protected under federal and state anti-discrimination laws. While you might understand that you are protected against harassment and discrimination based on your protected status, you might be unaware that these laws also protect you from retaliation. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler are able to review what has happened to you and advise you on your rights.
What is workplace retaliation?
It is illegal for employers to discriminate against workers on the basis of their protected characteristics under both state and federal law. These characteristics include such things as the following:
- National origin
- Disability status
- Pregnancy status
It is likewise unlawful for employers to harass you because of these protected characteristics. In addition, an employer is not able to retaliate against you for filing a discrimination or harassment complaint, participating in an investigation, acting as a whistleblower, and otherwise exercising your legal rights. Retaliation includes any action that your employer might take against you in reaction to your exercise of your rights, including in all phases of your employment up to and including termination.
Retaliation is not always clear. In addition to termination, retaliation may include such things as a denial of a bonus or a change in your work shift. Such actions can still be illegal if they would deter a reasonable person in your shoes from filing a complaint.
What qualifies as retaliation?
Retaliation includes any adverse action that your employer might take against you because you exercised your legal rights. For example, if your employer demotes you because you filed a discrimination complaint, your demotion might constitute unlawful retaliation. Retaliation might include docking your pay, giving you a less-favorable shift or job assignment, denying you a scheduled bonus or raise, or firing you.
What if the complaint was dismissed or found to be unfounded?
It does not matter if your original complaint that prompted the retaliation was dismissed or found to be unwarranted. Retaliation is considered to be a separate, illegal act. If your employer retaliates against you for filing a complaint, you may have valid grounds to file a lawsuit based on unlawful retaliation.
Get help from the attorneys at Swartz Swidler
Retaliation is far too common, but it is illegal when it is based on you exercising your rights. To learn more, contact Swartz Swidler today to schedule a free consultation.