The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that retaliation is the most common type of discrimination lawsuit employees bring against their employers. Under state and federal anti-discrimination laws, Texas employees and prospective employees cannot be punished for any “protected activity.” Protected activity is a legal term used to describe an employee’s right to engage in certain activities without fear of retaliation.
After an employer receive a complaint of discrimination, an investigation should take place to substantiate the claims. During these investigations, employees and co-workers may face questions about what they have witnessed in the workplace, or if they have any knowledge or experience with the issue at hand. Employees are expected to answer truthfully and fully cooperate in these investigations. In some cases, employees are discouraged from participating in these investigations for fear of retaliation. However, employers are not permitted to retaliate against an employee for cooperating in an investigation, even if the investigation does not lead to the filing of a discrimination lawsuit.
If an employee is fired, demoted, transferred, or otherwise punished for engaging in activities such as filing or participating in an employment discrimination complaint or lawsuit, that is retaliation for engaging in protected activity. The EEOC prohibits retaliation against an employee for participating in the complaint process. Employees are also protected if they try to oppose discrimination in the workplace in any other way. However, the employee must be able to show they were acting on a reasonable belief that discrimination was taking place. Employees frequently claim they experienced negative performance reviews, verbal abuse, ridicule, undesirable transfers, or even termination after participating in an employment discrimination investigation.
t is crucial employees are protected when assisting with an investigation. In some circumstances, employers will terminate or discipline an employee for participating in an investigation but will shield their discriminatory behavior by asserting some non-discriminatory reason for the employment action. If an employee does suffer some adverse employment action, they should contact an experienced attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.
Have You Been the Victim of Texas Employment Discrimination or Retaliation?
Employees should not be discouraged from coming forward with complaints or assisting their fellow employees with their claims. If you have experienced adverse employment actions based on what you believe to be protected activity, contact the Rob Wiley law firm at 214-528-6500 to schedule your consultation.