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Have you been the victim of employment retaliation?

Employees who are the targets of harassing or discriminating acts in the workplace are encouraged to report such acts and file a formal complaint. Once an employer is made aware that harassing and discriminatory acts have occurred, swift measures should be taken to investigate the claims and, if necessary, intervene.

Unfortunately, not all employers take complaints about workplace harassment and discrimination seriously or respond appropriately. In cases where an employee who reports such abuses is subsequently threatened, punished, demoted or fired; he or she may choose to file a workplace retaliation lawsuit.

State and Federal employment laws protect employees who have the courage to come forward to report acts of harassment and discrimination from being punished or retaliated against in any way. Additionally, protections against employment-related retaliatory actions are extended to other employees who may be interviewed during a claim investigation or who provide testimony during an employment lawsuit.

Even actions that an employer believes may benefit an employee, like transferring the employee to a different department or location may be considered a retaliatory action. This is especially true in cases where the employee who complained is targeted rather than the individual accused of carrying out the harassment or discrimination.

Additionally, acts of employment retaliation may not be immediate. For example, even actions like as a negative performance review, reduction in pay or firing that occurs months or years after an employee filed a claim may be considered retaliatory in nature.

Claims of employment retaliation can be difficult to prove. Orange County residents, who believe they have been punished by an employer after reporting acts of workplace harassment or discrimination, would be wise to contact an attorney.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Workplace Retaliation," April9, 2015

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