Retaliation In The Workplace – Do You Have A Case?

Massachusetts Employment Law, along with federal statutes, provides relief and protection for employees who are facing an act of retaliation from coworkers and/or employers. A claim must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) or the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). However, it is important to make sure you have your facts straight before you make such a claim and take on your employer.

First of all, it is necessary to have a good understanding of what retaliation is and how it is viewed under Massachusetts law. Retaliation occurs when employers or other employees take measures to subject you to negative experiences related to your job because you complained about discrimination at about work or you supported another employee who complained.

Examples of retaliation include:

  • Taking available working hours away from you and giving them to someone else
  • Cutting your pay
  • Removing bonuses
  • Uncalled-for reprimands
  • Wrongful termination

Retaliation is different from harassment and requires different proof. While Massachusetts law does provide for employer accountability and protection against retaliation, it is important that you have sufficient proof to substantiate your claim. You must be able to prove:

  • That you engaged in protected activity, such as filing a complaint or participating in someone else’s complaint (supported them or acted as a witness).
  • That your employer took a negative action against you.
  • That the reason your employer acted in a negative way towards you was due to your protected activity. Often, the key here is to show that the supervisor was aware of your engaging in the protected activity before he took the adverse employment action against you.

Producing written evidence that your employer took negative action against you because of your protected activity is preferred in proving cases such as these. However, a smart employer will make sure they are protected by putting nothing in writing that could show that causation.

Circumstantial evidence that would discredit the employer’s motives for taking negative action would be the next best bet. However this type of evidence is more difficult to cultivate and convey to the courts without help from an experienced employment attorney.

Retaliation cases can be complex and difficult to prove. A case evaluation from an experienced employment attorney can help determine the strength of your case and provide direction on how to proceed. If you feel as though you have been retaliated against at work, call us today and learn your options.