Employment retaliation cases are inherently difficult to prove; seldom does an employment discrimination lawyer find the proverbial “smoking gun” as evidence. More typically, the case must be developed through circumstantial evidence.
The basic claim regarding retaliation involves the concept that an employer may not take a negative action against an employee in response to that employee engaging in what an employment discrimination lawyer describes as a “protected activity.” According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a protected activity includes:
- Opposition to a practice believed to be unlawful discrimination
- Participation in an employment discrimination proceeding
- Requesting a reasonable accommodation based on religion or disability
Elements of a Retaliation Claim
To prevail on your lawsuit, your employment discrimination lawyer will need to prove four elements:
- You were engaged in a protected activity
- You suffered a negative employment consequence
- There was a causal link between your engagement in the protected activity and what your employer did
- You suffered measurable damages
Employers often disguise their true motivations; they will more often than not indicate the reason you were fired, for instance, was not because you of your age but because of poor performance. In addition, other forms of retaliation may not be as obvious as a job termination. For example, you may be treated differently at work after you complained about a certain practice. The question may than become, does the different treatment constitute a negative consequence?
Building Your Case
The first thing you must do if you suspect your employer is retaliating against you is to begin to document the events that demonstrate this fact. Write down things that are said to you and others. Look up prior communications regarding your performance, such as reviews or acknowledgements of past successes. It almost every case, you must allow your employer to correct the problem before taking legal action. This may entail speaking with your supervisor or a representative from the human resources department. If they do not adequately respond to your concerns, it may be time to seek legal counsel.
Contact a Bronx Employment Attorney for Legal Advice
Most employment is at will and the employer has a great advantage over the employee. However, there are limitations to an employer’s powers and protections for the worker. Understand your rights; call the Law Offices of Delmas A. Costin, Jr. for an employment discrimination lawyer at (877) 440- 0854.