Retaliation

Workplace retaliation is unlawful.

Federal and Colorado law prohibit employers from retaliating against an individual because the individual engaged in lawfully protected conduct.

Murray Law welcomes the opportunity to provide experienced counsel and representation to individuals confronting retaliation. Steven Murray has successfully represented individuals asserting retaliation claims in cases before United States District Courts, including obtaining jury verdicts and favorable resolutions.

Retaliation Law

Retaliation is federal and Colorado law. Federal and Colorado law prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, religion, disability, and age.

Retaliation protections are designed to protect: (1) individuals engaging in opposition to discrimination prohibited by law, and (2) persons participating in the legal processes for investigating and enforcing the prohibitions on discrimination.

The Supreme Court of the United States has recognized that effective protection against retaliation is essential to securing “a workplace where individuals are not discriminated against ….”  That is so because “fear of retaliation is the leading reason why people stay silent” about the discrimination they have encountered or observed.

Persons Covered by Retaliation Law

Retaliation protections apply to employees, applicants, and former employees. Employers may not take materially adverse actions against a person because she engaged in lawfully protected activity. Protected activity includes:

  • (1) Opposing discrimination under law, or
  • (2) Participating in a discrimination proceeding by filing a charge of discrimination, assisting, testifying or participating in any investigation, litigation, or proceeding under law.

An employer may not retaliate against an individual for requesting and/ or receiving a reasonable employment accommodation for an individual’s religion or religious practice.

Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 [ADA], an employer cannot retaliate against a person for requesting and/or receiving a reasonable accommodation to a disability. The ADA prohibits coercion, intimidation, threats, or interference with any individual:

  • (1) in the person’s exercise or enjoyment of any right under the ADA; or because
  • (2) the individual actually exercised or enjoyed any right under the ADA; or
  • (3) the individual aided or encouraged any other individual in the exercise or enjoyment of any right the ADA.

Pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act, an employer may not retaliate against an individual who has requested or received family and medical leave. The FMLA prohibits an employer from interfering with, restraining, or denying the exercise of any right under the FMLA.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law, prohibits retaliation against an individual for asserting his or her wage and hour rights under the Act, or participating in protected conduct under the Act.

Retaliatory Actions

Unlawful employer retaliation includes materially adverse actions by an employer; meaning, employer actions that under the circumstances might well dissuade a reasonable person from engaging in lawfully protected activity. Based on the totality of circumstances, potential examples include;

  • Failure of refusal to hire;
  • Unfavorable job assignments or transfers;
  • Discipline, including reprimands, suspensions:
  • Reduction/denial of compensation, wages, or benefits:
  • Promotion, demotion, job assignments, or layoff:
  • Discharge;
  • Limiting, segregating, or classifying employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his or her status because of the individual’s participation in lawfully protected conduct.
  • Retaliatory Harassment – Hostile Work Environment.
  • Post-employment retaliation by an employer against a former employee, i.e. a filing a lawsuit against a former employee, or engaging in retaliatory conduct designed to damage a former employee’s future employment opportunities.
Conclusion

Murray Law welcomes the opportunity to provide advice, counsel, and legal representation to any individual who believes that he or she has been deprived of the vital legal right to be free from unlawful retaliation in employment. Please contact Steven Murray at 720-600-664.

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