Workplace Retaliation Lawyers Serving Clients on Long Island
Making the decision to advocate for your rights is difficult, especially if you experienced workplace discrimination or harassment. You may feel powerless and intimidated, forced into remaining quiet. Many individuals do not report employment discrimination or harassment due to a fear of retaliation. They may worry about being punished for exercising their rights. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees, however, and they can be held responsible under the law for doing so. It is important to understand that workplace retaliation is unlawful and that you have options. One of the experienced Long Island workplace retaliation lawyers at Ricotta and Marks, P.C. can speak with you today about filing a retaliation claim under federal or New York state law.
As an employee on Long Island, you have rights when it comes to how you are treated and paid in your workplace.
Employers must respect federal and New York state laws that are designed to protect workers against unlawful discrimination, and that are designed to ensure workers are paid fairly and otherwise treated fairly on the job. However, in some situations, workers will face negative consequences from an employer if they decide to exercise their rights. Such negative consequences are known as “retaliation,” and there are a wide variety of federal and state laws that prohibit workplace retaliation. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), retaliation “is the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination in the federal sector” and one of the most common sources of employee complaints.
How is Workplace Retaliation Defined on Long Island?
Workplace retaliation occurs when an employer punishes job applicants or employees for asserting the rights that protect them from employment discrimination and harassment. Unfairly punishing employees in this fashion is illegal.
The EEOC, the New York State Division of Human Rights, New York State Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Labor, and other agencies enforce federal and state laws that prohibit retaliation by employers against employees. Both federal and state law prohibit retaliation for making a complaint of discrimination or sexual harassment. The NYS Department of Labor defines retaliation as “any unfavorable action against an employee for complaining about labor law violations or reporting them to the authorities.” In other words, any unfavorable action taken by an employer against an employee because that employee has exercised his or her rights by filing a complaint or participating in a complaint process can face serious consequences. Examples of retaliation may include but are not limited to:
- Termination or dismissal from the job;
- Reduction in work hours;
- Rescheduling work hours to a less desirable time;
- Reassignment to a less desirable position or job site location;
- Reduction in pay;
- Failure to give a promised raise;
- Failure to give a pay increase that is supposed to apply to all employees;
- Taking disciplinary action against the employee;
- Engaging in more intensive or critical supervision of the employee;
- Demoting the employee;
- Transferring the employee to a less desirable;
- Taking away privileges from an employee;
- Taking away certain employee benefits;
- Assigning an employee more difficult or time-consuming job duties;
- Engaging in verbal or physical abuse against the employee;
- Making threats against the employee;
- Threatening or actually reporting the employee to authorities for issues like immigration status; or
- Spreading false rumors about the employee.
It is not always easy to determine whether or not you have experienced workplace retaliation. For more accurate and detailed guidance, consider contacting Ricotta and Marks’ Queens and Long Island workplace retaliation lawyers.
Is Workplace Retaliation The Same As Employment Discrimination?
Workplace retaliation typically arises from discriminatory or harassing behavior. Workplace retaliation is a separate charge and does not need to be based exclusively on discrimination.
Employment discrimination is the segregation or separation of employees based on their identity. Employment discrimination legislation covers the following protected categories:
- National Origin
- Sexual Orientation
For a more comprehensive look at employment discrimination, visit our online resource here or talk to a workplace harassment attorney at Ricotta & Marks today.
Employees on Long Island Have Rights and Can Exercise them Without Fear of Retaliation
Under the federal laws enforced by the EEOC and The New York State Human Rights Law, employees can engage in the following actions or activities without fear of reprisal or retaliation from the employer:
- Filing a complaint about a violation of the law;
- Filing a complaint with the New York State Department of Labor, the federal Department of Labor, the New York State Division of Human Rights, or the EEOC;
- Providing information to an investigator during a claim investigation;
- Testifying as part of an investigation or other proceeding; and/or
- Exercising any other rights that are protected under state or federal law.
Federal and State Laws Prohibit Retaliation in the Long Island Workplace
The following are examples of federal and state laws that prohibit retaliation in the Long Island workplace:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act;
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA);
- Whistleblower Protection Act;
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA);
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA);
- Family and Medical Leave Act;
- New York Human Rights Law (NYHRL); and
- Section 215 of New York State Labor Law.
Sexual Harassment & Workplace Retaliation
In some cases, sexual harassment and workplace retaliation go hand in hand. An individual may experience retaliation as a result of reporting sexual harassment. Alternatively, retaliation can take the form of sexual harassment. For instance, a supervisor may threaten to demote an employee who reported discrimination unless they perform sexual favors. This could be considered workplace retaliation as well as sexual harassment.
Wage And Hour Disputes
An employer can weaponize wages to retaliate against an employee. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects employees from such conduct and established fair wage practices among most private and public employers.
The FLSA prohibits withholding, illegally deducting, and/or failing to pay wages or benefits.
What Are Whistleblower Laws?
A whistleblower is an individual who reports unlawful conduct within a business, organization, or institution. Reporting illegal conduct is well within an employee’s rights. The Whistleblower Protection Program was put in place to protect employees who “whistleblow” against their employer.
Remedies for Long Island Retaliation
Depending upon whether you file a claim under federal or New York law, the following are potential remedies for retaliation:
- Reinstatement to original position (or similar position if original position has been filled);
- Restoration of the employee’s seniority;
- Compensation for lost wages;
- Damages; and
- Attorneys’ fees.
In addition, an employer who violates federal or state laws prohibiting retaliation for violations of the Labor Law can be assessed financial penalties (which can be up to $20,000 per violation under New York state law), and can be ordered to pay compensation and liquidated damages to the employee.
What Can I Do If I Experience Workplace Retaliation?
If you experienced workplace retaliation, you may feel unable to present the issue to your employer. This is understandable, as reporting an incident may lead to further retaliation. The EEOC and New York State Division of Human Rights are two venues responsible for safeguarding employees from workplace retaliation.
Bear in mind that there are time-based limitations on reporting workplace retaliation. The EEOC, for example, requires filing within 300 days of the retaliation, though state laws may provide longer deadlines. Visiting with an experienced workplace retaliation lawyer can ensure that you submit your documents in a timely manner and avoid losing your legal right to receive justice.
How Can Workplace Retaliation Lawyers Assist Me?
In many instances, employees who have experienced workplace retaliation are pressured into silence. They may fear losing their jobs or benefits as a result of filing a complaint or lawsuit against their employer. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees in this way, however, and pursuing legal justice may be a good option.
Employees should feel comfortable exercising their rights under federal and state law. When an employer engages in any adverse action that looks like retaliation, it is critical to seek advice from our experienced Long Island workplace retaliation lawyers. You should remember that retaliation is not always overt, but it is always prohibited. Accordingly, if you have concerns about retaliation, you should have an attorney assess the facts of your case. Contact Ricotta & Marks, P.C. today online or call us at 347-464-8694.