A retaliation case is a type of lawsuit that alleges an employer punished an employee for exercising their legal rights. In Chicago, employees have the right to take action if they feel their employer has retaliated against them for a legally protected activity. That could include filing a complaint, testifying in court or participating in a workplace investigation.
If you’ve been a victim of workplace retaliation, you may be wondering what makes a good case. The answer could depend on a few factors, including the type of workplace action taken against you and your employment history. This article will explore those topics in more detail so you can better assess if you have a strong case.
What Is Retaliation in the Workplace?
Retaliation occurs when an employer takes action against an employee for engaging in a legally protected activity. A protected activity in the workplace includes anything an employee can do without fear of reprisal from their employer. Under the law, it is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who exercise their rights.
Examples of protected activities include:
- Filing a complaint about racist or sexist company policies
- Participating in a workplace investigation or testifying in court or during a deposition
- Reporting sexual harassment
- Requesting reasonable accommodations for disabilities
- Demanding earned, but unpaid, overtime pay
- Whistleblowing or reporting illegal activities to government agency
- Discussing unionization or forming a union
- Reporting a coworker’s misconduct
What Counts as Retaliatory Behavior in the Workplace?
Retaliation can take many forms. It is generally characterized as any adverse action an employer takes against an employee for engaging in a protected activity. Some of these may be overt, while others may be more subtle. Whether it’s your employer or direct manager, workplace retaliation should be taken seriously.
Here’s a short list of some possible retaliatory behavior:
- Receiving less desirable duties or projects
- Passed over for promotion
- Reduction in hours
- Reduction in salary benefits
- Verbal or physical threats
It can be difficult to prove that retaliatory behavior took place. That’s why it’s important to keep records of any warnings, reprimands or other disciplinary actions taken against you by your employer.
A lawyer with experience in employer-employee disputes can help you evaluate your case and determine if you have a valid claim.
Building a Strong Retaliation Case in Chicago
Retaliation cases can be complicated and hard to prove. In order to have a successful case, you must be able to show a clear connection between the retaliatory action and your protected activity. You must also provide evidence that the motivation behind your employer’s actions was retaliation.
In order to successfully file a retaliation claim in Illinois, the employee must meet certain legal requirements. The employee must show that they engaged in a protected activity, such as filing a complaint or participating in an investigation. The employee must also prove that the employer took an adverse employment action against them based on their protected activity.
To build a strong case, you must show 3 things:
- The employee faced harassment or discrimination in the workplace.
- The employee reported the incident.
- The employee was demoted, fired, or otherwise punished for their complaint.
It’s important to note that retaliation doesn’t have to involve termination; it can also take the form of demotion, suspension, transfer, or other adverse employment actions.
If an employee can show all these 3 actions occurred with solid evidence, they may have the basis for a strong retaliation case. If you think your employer retaliated against you for engaging in a legally protected activity, the attorneys of Lazaro Law Group can help. We understand how intimidating and overwhelming it can be to file a lawsuit against your employer. Our attorneys specialize in representing victims of workplace retaliation and they will provide you with the experienced legal representation you need to get justice.
What an Attorney Wants to See in a Retaliation Claim
When evaluating a retaliation case, an attorney will look at the following factors to see if you have a valid claim. You need to come prepared with a succinct version of your story and solid evidence to prove your claim. You don’t need a file of every single document or memo you’ve received from your employer — but its important to have evidence to show to your lawyer.
1. Documentation: The attorney will want to see any documentation you have related to your situation, such as emails, memos or other written correspondence from your employer.
2. Witnesses: If possible, provide the names of any potential witnesses who can corroborate your claims.
3. Timeline: Have a clear timeline of events to show when the alleged retaliatory behavior occurred and how it has adversely impacted your career.
What Evidence Counts in a Retaliation Lawsuit?
When it comes to filing a retaliation claim in Chicago, the employee has the burden of proof. This means that they must be able to demonstrate the employer’s intent to retaliate through direct or circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence could include emails or other documentation that show the employer’s intent to retaliate. Circumstantial evidence may include circumstantial proof of retaliatory motives, such as a pattern of behavior or timing that suggests an intent to retaliate.
Some common types of evidence for retaliation claims are:
- Call and chat logs
- Company policies
- Performance reviews
- Witness statements
- Notes from meetings
- Pay stubs
- Documentation of any disciplinary action
- Voicemails and recordings
An employee who has been retaliated against should keep detailed records of all incidents and any communication with their employer. Anything that demonstrates a pattern of discrimination can be used as evidence of retaliation.
Getting Legal Helps Put a Stop to Toxic Workplaces
Retaliation should never be tolerated or ignored. These cases aren’t expensive but also any employer who retaliates against employees creates a toxic work environment. That’s why it’s important to take a stand and fight for your rights in the workplace.
If you have been the victim of workplace retaliation, the experienced attorneys at Lazaro Law Group can help. We understand how intimidating it can be to file a lawsuit against your employer, and we will provide you with the experienced legal representation you need to get justice. Our attorneys specialize in representing victims of workplace retaliation and they will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.