No employer, regardless of size, is permitted to discrimination against employees based on certain protected classes and characteristics, including
- National origin
- Marital status
- Sexual orientation
- Military status
- Pregnancy status
- Genetic information
- Caregiver status
- Gender identity
Our firm guides employers and employees alike in these types of situations. For employers, we help guide our clients through what is legally permissible and what is not. This includes substantiating your legitimate business decisions to ensure that any actions you take are supported and defensible. For employees, we will prosecute your claims under a federal, state, or local discrimination laws if you suffer an adverse action (e.g., discipline; termination; failure to promote; reduced compensation, unfavorable assignments/work schedule, etc.) based upon your protected class and/or characteristic.
Employers and employees must be keenly aware of whether an employee’s actions may constitute a protected activity. In some cases, employers make decisions without knowing that an employee recently complained about a particular issue. If that issue is covered by applicable law, the employee may file a lawsuit because they believe their adverse employment action was a result of their prior complaint. Thus, it’s imperative for employers to speak with an attorney, even for a few minutes, to ensure that any actions they take are defensible; and also to develop a game plan and strategy for taking any steps that could be construed to be an adverse employment action.
As to employees, they must be aware that if they make a complaint or otherwise report that an employee or employer is engaging in certain prohibited or unlawful activities, they may be covered by the retaliation and whistleblowing laws. If you suffer an adverse employment action as a result of your engagement in a protected activity, you may have a viable claim against your employer.
Our firm not only provides advice and counseling on these matters, but we litigate them as well. For more information as to these issues, to determine what steps you need to take as an employer, or to find out whether you have a cognizable claim as an employee, please call our office.