Imagine that you filed a safety complaint about an incident at work. A few days later you started to experience hostility from your supervisor. A few days after that, your boss called you into the office and handed you a pink slip. Your employer had just fired you from the job you had worked for the last 10 years. Since Texas is a work-at-will state, your boss could have let you go for any number of reasons. However, if you lost your job due to filing the safety complaint, you might be able to take legal action.
If you feel like you were wrongfully terminated from your job, you may be able to fight back. A Houston area attorney with employment law experience can help you get the compensation you deserve after a wrongful termination. Read further for more information on workplace retaliation and your rights.
There are many federal regulations in place to protect employees. From minimum wage requirements to medical leave, federal laws exist to ensure that employers treat their employees fairly. The Discrimination in Employment Act, as well as several others, are in place to protect workers from discrimination during the hiring process and while employed. Other laws provide protection against retaliation. Under these regulations, an employer cannot take any action against you for engaging in a protected act.
In general, protected acts fall into two categories: reporting unlawful activities and taking part in an investigation. As in the above example, if you file a complaint regarding safety violations, then you have engaged in a protected activity and any retaliatory actions, including wrongful termination, are illegal.
In a situation where another employee files a complaint and authorities investigate it, your employment cannot retaliate against any employee that aides in the investigation or gives testimony.
Proving your case
In order to prove your wrongful termination, you will have to follow three steps. First, you will have to prove that you participated in a protected activity. Second, you will have to show the court you were retaliated against. Retaliation can take the form of a demotion, pay cut or termination. Third, you will have to prove that the retaliation was a direct consequence of your protected act. This means that if there are multiple black marks on your work record, such as missing work, low performance scores or other negative reviews, you may have a hard time proving the two are related.
If you have been the victim of workplace retaliation or wrongful termination, you may be entitled to take legal action. It will be important to get advice on your case and take the first step toward getting the compensation you deserve.