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Employees cannot be fired for reporting discrimination

As we have discussed in multiple blog posts, workplace discrimination laws are some of the most important employment protections afforded to workers. In many ways, these laws, enforced at a federal, state and local level, allow workers the peace of mind that they will not be terminated for purely prejudicial reasons. At the same time, workers can also have the confidence that they aren’t without options if they are the victims of employment discrimination.

Furthermore, employees are protected in their ability to stand up for their rights. In other words, retaliation for discrimination claims is forbidden by law.

Multiple federal laws, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, provide protection against retaliation. As a result, a very large share of employers is subject to these rules.

On a very basic level, an employer cannot turn around and fire an employee simply because it’s revealed that he or she filed a discrimination claim. Additionally, employees are protected against being passed up for promotions, demoted or harassed for retaliatory purposes.

One major benefit of anti-retaliation laws is that they can make employees feel more comfortable about standing up against workplace discrimination. Given the importance of job security in certain situations, it’s understandable why some people would rather stay quiet than jeopardize their employment status. If an employee is fired as the result of retaliation, he or she can have the confidence to know that they can also pursue a wrongful termination claim.

Beyond federal protections, it’s also worth noting that New York state or city laws might provide additional coverage for employees. For this reason, it may be worthwhile to speak with a knowledgeable legal professional to be informed of all available legal rights and options.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Retaliation,” accessed July 24, 2014

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