Every employee should be able to make good faith complaints or raise concerns to his or her supervisor, Human Resources department or an outside agency about illegal behavior, discrimination, harassment or working conditions without the fear of retaliation. If you have been fired, demoted, transferred or otherwise suffered retaliation at work, one of our experienced employment law attorneys can assist you with your claim.
At Reavey Law LLC, our Kansas City lawyers represent victims of retaliation and wrongful termination. We provide employees with strong advocacy and skilled representation in negotiations and, when necessary, in litigation. To learn more about your rights as an employee, our employment practice and how we can help you, contact us for a free consultation.
When an employee complains about wages, hours, working conditions, discrimination, or other job-related issues, he or she may become the victim of retaliatory acts by fellow employees, management, or the company itself. Though sometimes employers do act to protect a complaining employee from retaliation, a complaint can lead to a hostile or retaliatory work environment for the employee. If you are considering quitting as a result of the retaliation, it is important to speak with an attorney before you resign. Your employer may be trying to get you to quit in order to weaken your claim. Do not take action until you have spoken with an attorney about your rights.
Most employment laws, including the FLSA and FMLA contain provisions expressly prohibiting employer retaliation against employees who exercise their rights pursuant to these laws (rights which include filing a formal or informal complaint).
Kansas and Missouri state laws also prohibit employers from terminating employees on account of certain protected activities by the employee, such as having a workers’ compensation injury or claim, for reporting unlawful conduct in the workplace, or for refusing to perform an act that the employee believes is unlawful or unethical. Claims under Kansas or Missouri state law typically are referred to as “wrongful” or “retaliatory” discharge/termination claims. Unfortunately, wrongful discharge/termination claims generally do not include the possibility of an award of attorney fees so they are viewed by employers as weaker claims than those brought under specific anti-retaliation laws like the FLSA or FMLA (as such laws usually specifically provide for an award of attorney’s fees).
If your employer has taken retaliatory action against you, including termination, demotion, poor performance evaluations, job transfers or fines, you may be able to pursue a claim. Also, retaliatory acts by fellow employees or supervisors may be imputed to your employer, thereby making the employer liable for those actions.
Additional information on unlawful retaliation can be found on the EEOC, MCHR and the KHRC websites. Information on retaliation specific to the FLSA or FMLA can be found at the U.S. Department of Labor. To find out if the retaliation you are suffering is one that allows for a legal action, contact our firm to review your situation.
State and federal law also provides protections to whistleblowers. A whistleblower is an employee who reports his or her employer, supervisor or other superior for illegal or unethical behavior. For example, this could include an employee reporting a securities violation to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), reporting a safety violation on a factory floor to Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), or reporting a tax violation to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If you have been a victim of retaliation or wrongful discharge in the workplace, contact an experienced attorney at our firm immediately for a free initial consultation. After-hours and weekend appointments are available if necessary.