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What Happens in an Employment Retaliation Case

What Happens in an Employment Retaliation Case

Are you suddenly suffering negative consequences at work after reporting misconduct or participating in an investigation into an employer's unlawful actions? You may have grounds for a workplace retaliation claim. When taking legal action against an employer, there's far too much at stake to go it alone. Fortunately, you don't have to. A skilled team of employment attorneys can help protect your rights, level the playing field between you and your employer's corporate defense counsel, and potentially even maximize the value of your case. We're so glad you found us.

Caring and Capable Legal Counsel

At Bailess Law Firm, our conscientious and experienced trial attorneys represent survivors of workplace sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other types of wrongdoing in a wide range of complex litigation. If you've faced retaliation on the job, we can help you fight for accountability and fair damages. We'll also provide the validation, guidance, and support you need to make it through the unfamiliar legal process.

Considering filing a retaliation claim against your employer? Learning about the process can help prepare you for what's to come. Here's what you should know about West Virginia workplace retaliation cases, and how our dedicated attorneys can help you each and every step of the way.

Understanding Workplace Retaliation

What is employment retaliation? Simply put: Retaliation is a negative employment action that punishes workers for reporting discrimination or harassment, or engaging in other legally protected activities. Examples of protected acts include:

  • Rejecting unwanted sexual advances
  • Reporting harassment, discrimination, or a hostile work environment
  • Intervening to protect others from harassment or discrimination
  • Reporting safety violations or unsafe working conditions
  • Requesting disability, pregnancy, or religious accommodations
  • Reporting abuse of patients
  • Reporting understaffing at a nursing home, hospital, or other medical or patient care facility
  • Filing an employment sexual harassment/hostile work environment or discrimination complaint or lawsuit
  • Being a witness in a complaint or lawsuit against your employer
  • Participating in a company investigation into alleged discrimination or harassment
  • Refusing to follow employer instructions that would result in harassment, discrimination, or other illegal conduct
  • Filing a workers' compensation claim

While relatively extensive, the above list of protected actions is far from exhaustive. Have questions? Don't hesitate to reach out.

Employment Retaliation Is Against the Law

You have the right to work in an environment that's free from harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. That's not some pie-in-the-sky description of the ideal workplace; it's the law. Both state and federal laws prohibit employers from harassing, discriminating, or retaliating against workers based on protected characteristics such as race, color, religion, sex, or national origin—or for engaging in protected acts, as discussed above.

Federal employment protections come from Equal Opportunity Employment (EEO) laws, while the West Virginia Human Rights Act (WVHRA) offers even more robust protections. The WVHRA applies to all public and private employers with 12 or more employees. Does your employer employ fewer than 12 workers? Our attorneys can still help you explore your legal rights and options for compensation.

On-the-Job Retaliation Can Be Blatant or Subtle

When thinking of examples of workplace retaliation, having your hours cut, being demoted, or getting fired may be the main things that come to mind. However, employment retaliation can entail so much more—with actions ranging from glaringly obvious, to sneaky and subtle.

Depending on the facts of your case, the following employer actions could potentially be considered retaliatory:

  • Denying you a raise or transfer to a more desirable position
  • Cutting your hours or slashing your pay
  • Demoting you or transferring you to a less desirable position
  • Giving you an unwarranted poor performance review
  • Denying you training or mentoring opportunities available to other equally or less qualified workers
  • Excluding you from meetings and projects
  • Subjecting you to verbal or physical abuse
  • Micromanaging your job performance
  • Purposefully changing your work schedule to conflict with family responsibilities
  • Scheduling you to work with someone you reported for harassing you or discriminating against you
  • Subjecting you to unwarranted write-ups or other forms of workplace discipline
  • Purposefully making your job more difficult
  • Accusing you of not being a "team player"
  • Terminating your employment

If you're facing retaliation from your employer for reporting illegal workplace discrimination or harassment, or otherwise exercising your employment rights, we can help you review your options for legal action.

What to Expect During the Litigation Process

For people who've never been involved in any type of legal dispute—and even for some who have—the litigation process can seem confusing, frightening, and even a little intimidating. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Case Length. How long your case takes to resolve can vary dramatically depending on factors such as the available facts and evidence; the skill and experience of the attorneys involved; court backlog; and the potential value of the claim.
  • Potential Damages. If your employer has retaliated against you, you may be able to recover damages for lost wages and benefits, emotional distress, and other economic and non-economic losses.

Key Steps in a Retaliation Case

  • Your attorney files a lawsuit
  • The lawsuit is served to your employer
  • Your employer's legal team responds
  • Both sides go through the discovery process, which includes depositions
  • Settlement negotiations
  • Trial

We Can Help You Protect Your Rights and Fight For Accountability

At Bailess Law Firm, we know how hard it can be to come forward and seek help for employment retaliation—and we're here to support you. Ready to find out if your case and our firm are a good match? Contact us today for an initial review of your employment retaliation claim. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can start advocating on your behalf.

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