Employees in New York have certain legal rights. This includes the right to complain about workplace discrimination and harassment as well as to notify the government about the potentially illegal conduct of their employers. Under local, state and federal laws, employees are protected from retaliation in the workplace for asserting these rights. If you have been retaliated against by your employer, the best way to protect your rights is to consult an experienced employment law attorney.
Lipsky Lowe LLP has extensive experience handling workplace retaliation and whistleblower claims. If you have been punished in any way for exercising your employment rights, we can help. We will leverage our knowledge and skills to make sure you are treated fairly and help you obtain just compensation for any harm you have experienced, whether from wrongful termination, lost career opportunities, or damage to your reputation.
Don’t fight workplace retaliation on your own. The employment law attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP will be the strength in your corner and fight tirelessly to protect your rights.
What is workplace retaliation?
Unlawful retaliation occurs when an employer takes an adverse employment action against an employee, such as:
- Firing or termination
- Demotion or reassignment of duties
- Negative work evaluations
- Salary decreases
As an example, an employee with a history of positive employment reviews who complains about sexual harassment by a supervisor and then is suddenly reprimanded or terminated for subpar performance may be the victim of workplace retaliation. While this is an overt form of retaliation, covert forms of retaliation also occur, for example when supervisors behave in a hostile or insulting manner towards an employee who has complained about mistreatment.
In addition, employees cannot be retaliated against for participating in an investigation or filing a lawsuit against an employer. In short, any action that could be interpreted as a punishment or penalty against an employee who makes a complaint may be unlawful. It is important to note that New York is an at-will state for purposes of employment, which means an employee can be fired at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. Although this gives employers a great deal of latitude in making such employment decisions, the law specifically forbids terminating an employee for complaining about violations of labor law or for filing a lawsuit pertaining to such violations.
Our experienced employment law attorneys will help determine whether your employer has unlawfully retaliated against you and explore all the available legal options. While it is often best to work out a negotiated resolution, we are fully prepared to enforce your rights in a court of law when necessary.
Types of Workplace Retaliation
Employees in New York have certain legal rights and protections under local, state, and federal employment laws, including the right to a minimum wage, overtime pay, and protection against discrimination and harassment. Employees are also protected from asserting their rights under these laws. Some common types of workplace retaliation include:
Employees in New York are protected by a variety of anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).
Taken together, these laws prohibit employment discrimination based on protected characteristics such as age, gender, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and pregnancy. These laws also protect employees from retaliation for complaining to their employers, or the appropriate government agency (e.g the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), about discrimination or harassment.
Employees in New York are entitled to the minimum wage under the New York State Labor Law, as well as overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. These laws also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who complain about minimum wage and overtime violations or who file wage and hour claims.
Federal and state laws also protect employees against whistleblower retaliation. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform And Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), enacted after the financial crisis, protects employees who provide information to the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning securities fraud. The Sarbane-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) also protects individuals employed at publicly traded companies who provide information on, complain about, or assist in investigations regarding mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, securities fraud, shareholder fraud, or any Securities and Exchange Commission rule.
Family Medical Leave Retaliation
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires companies with 50 or more employees to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year to (1) care for a newborn or recently adopted child, or an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition (2) take medical leave due to a serious medical condition, and (3) assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service.
To be eligible, an employee must have worked for at least 1,250 hours over 12 months for that employer. The FMLA prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise this right.
In sum, employers are prohibited from terminating, demoting, reprimanding, harassing or taking any other adverse employment action in retaliation against employees who assert their rights or the rights of other employees.
Contact Our Workplace Retaliation Attorney
If you have been subjected to unlawful workplace retaliation, the legal team at Lipsky Lowe will provide you with powerful representation when you need it most. We understand that you have concerns about your livelihood and future and will do everything in our power to right this wrong. You must act quickly because there are strict time limits for bringing a retaliation claim. Please contact our office today to learn how we can help.