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Retaliation: What it is and why you need to know about it

The decisions employers and supervisors make aren't always popular or well understood. For instance, the decision to fire someone can come up against some backlash. The terminated employee can be mad; other employees can feel scared and confused about their own job security.

However, there are instances where an employer's decision to terminate a worker isn't just upsetting, it is actually against the law. If your boss fires you out of retaliation, you could have grounds to seek reinstatement and compensation for wrongful termination. Below is some information on what makes a firing retaliatory and what you can do about it. 

In order for a firing to be considered retaliatory, it must be in response to your participation in legally protected activities. These behaviors include:

  • Filing a claim for workers' compensation
  • Reporting harassment or discrimination on the job
  • Working with authorities to investigate illegal activities
  • Notifying federal agencies about unsafe work practices
  • Taking job-protected leave

However, it is important to note that in order to file a wrongful termination citing retaliation, you must be able to show that a firing was directly related to or in response to the above-mentioned activities. This can be very difficult to do, and many people see their claims dismissed if they cannot make that connection.

You should also understand that retaliation isn't just done in the form of firing an employee. An employer can be accused of retaliation for demoting, denying a promotion or refusing to hire anyone for participating in protected behaviors.

Considering all that is stake and how complicated these claims can be, it can be critical that you work with an attorney who understands the intricacies of wrongful termination laws and court procedures. With legal support and evidence of retaliation, you can seek job reinstatement, back pay and even compensation for economic and noneconomic damages.

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