Recent studies reveal an alarming trend of rising employment retaliation claims in America. The U.S. Supreme Court is taking harsh actions against employers who are accused of retaliation against their employees for reporting workplace violations.
U.S. Retaliation Claims
Over the last decade, a number of employment retaliation cases represented by an employment lawyer have come before the U.S. Supreme Court. Although the Supreme Court has made some workplace claims more difficult, it continues to support employees who complain of workplace retaliation.
In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of a plaintiff’s retaliation claim in Johnson v. North American Stainless, when the plaintiff was fired three weeks after plaintiff’s sex discrimination claim was filed. For a successful defense of a retaliation claim, employers should:
- Provide evidence that shows an employee’s termination is unrelated to an employee’s prior legal complaint or claim.
- Exercise caution when taking legal action against employees only after they have filed a complaint for a workplace violation.
- Make sure that employee terminations are supported by well-documented evidence that follows employment precedents, procedures and practices.
In 2014, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC, received the highest number of workplace retaliation claims ever recorded. More than 2 in 5 charges alleged some form of workplace retaliation, and claims exceeded all claims for age, race, sex and disability discrimination. 2015 EEOC data shows over 39,000 retaliation claims filed, accounting for 45 percent of all private sector charges filed by employees with the EEOC. An employment lawyer can assist with the filing of an EEOC charge.
Illinois Retaliation Claims
Illinois follows a policy of at-will employment, which means an employer can terminate an employee for any reason. However, under the Illinois Human Rights Act and similar federal statutes, an employee can prove an exception to employment-at-will; that is, workplace retaliation. An Illinois employment lawyer can support an employee’s allegations by showing the following:
- The employee engaged in protected activity and reported a workplace violation in good faith.
- The employee suffered an adverse action as the result of reporting a violation.
- Evidence that supports a connection between the protected activity and the adverse action suffered.
If a retaliation claim is filed against an employer with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, it must be filed within 180 days of the retaliatory action. The employer must then answer to those allegations within 60 days, or risk a default judgment.