Facing retaliation in the workplace and considering taking legal action to hold your employer accountable? A successful employment retaliation claim could entitle you to wide-ranging damages. However, the legal process you have to navigate in the hopes of securing a recovery is complex and complicated—and when you are not familiar with the ins and outs of litigation, it is possible to make a mistake that could have a devastating effect on the outcome of your claim. Here's what you need to know about West Virginia employment retaliation cases, including common errors and how the exceptional attorneys at Bailess Law Firm can help you keep your claim on track.
Recognizing Retaliation in the Workplace
Retaliation is a negative employment action that punishes a worker for engaging in legally protected activity, such as reporting sexual harassment, hostile work environment, safety violations, or other types of discrimination—or participating in investigations into such practices.
Retaliation can take many forms in the workplace, some of which are more subtle than others. What you suffered doesn't have to be as big or as blatant as a firing or a demotion, as any negative job action taken in response to your protected activity could potentially be considered retaliation. Examples of on-the-job retaliation can include:
- Increased scrutiny
- Unwarranted discipline
- Transfers to less desirable positions or shifts
- Verbal or physical abuse
- Decreased pay
- Reduced hours
- Denied pay raises or promotions
- Purposefully making the job more difficult
More convinced than ever that you're facing retaliation, or still not sure? We can help. Talk to us about your case.
Proving an Employment Retaliation Case
Recovering fair damages in an employment retaliation case requires proving four key elements:
- You experienced or witnessed illegal discrimination or harassment in the workplace (such as sexual harassment, hostile work environment, or age or race discrimination)
- You engaged in a protected employment activity (such as reporting the harassment or discrimination, or filing a complaint)
- Your employer took a negative employment action against you in response
- You suffered damages as a result
Our experienced employment attorneys can help you gather the evidence needed to prove these essential points.
What You Could Recover From a Successful Claim
People targeted for retaliation in employment can suffer both economic and non-economic damages, which may be recovered through a successful legal claim. Depending on the facts, evidence, and circumstances of your case, Bailess Law Firm's skilled employment lawyers could potentially help you recover damages for:
- Lost pay
- Out-of-pocket expenses (such as the costs associated with searching for a new job if you were fired)
- Emotional distress
- Related medical expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
A third category of damages—known as punitive damages—may be awarded in some employment retaliation cases. These damages serve a different purpose than the other types awarded. Whereas economic and non-economic damages are intended to restore the losses you've suffered as a result of the retaliation, punitive damages are meant to punish an employer for particularly egregious conduct, as well as deter other employers from engaging in similar illegal behavior.
Mistakes to Avoid
When you're facing retaliation at work, it can be difficult to know what to do. Unfortunately, how you respond to retaliation not only matters, it can have a significant impact on the outcome of your workplace retaliation claim. Here are some of the most common mistakes made in employment retaliation cases and how working with our talented attorneys can help you avoid them.
Violating Other Company Policies
Following company policies is particularly important when you're involved in an employment retaliation claim, as your employer will be looking for infractions they can use to justify the actions they've taken against you. Be mindful of attendance and other policies.
Talking or Posting About the Case
The old saying “loose lips sink ships” is especially true in employment retaliation cases. Talking about your case—or posting about it on social media—just gives your employer (or other defendants in your case) the opportunity to misconstrue what you've said and use it against you in court. Don't risk it. Keep conversations about your West Virginia workplace retaliation case between you and your attorney.
Trying to Handle the Claim Yourself
Taking legal action without a lawyer is the best gift you could give your employer in a retaliation case. Retaliation claims involve complex litigation—and if you've suffered damages from workplace retaliation, there's far too much at stake to go it alone. Hiring a skillful employment lawyer to represent you can help level the playing field, and ensure you and your claim are treated fairly.
How an Attorney Can Help You Hold an Employer Accountable for Retaliation
Here are just a few of the things our accomplished legal team can do to help your workplace retaliation case:
- Review your case
- Help you understand your legal rights and options
- Gather essential evidence
- Talk with witnesses
- Consult experts
- Document your damages
- Handle communications between you and your employer's defense attorneys
- Negotiate and evaluate potential settlements
- Present your case in court
- And much more
Request a Complimentary Case Review
Ready to find out how the team at Bailess Law Firm can help you fight back against workplace retaliation? Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free, no-obligation review of your case.