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How employer retaliation can work to your advantage

Not all work environments are warm and supportive. Your boss may try to use fear and intimidation tactics to get the results he wants. However, even in the most difficult workplace scenarios, you’re entitled to certain legal protections—and you shouldn’t be afraid to claim them.

If you’re concerned that your employer will penalize you for pursuing your rights, it’s worth understanding that the consequences he could face for such behavior could benefit you in the long run.

In a recent case in California, a manager at the fast food chain Chipotle sprained her wrist on the job. Under the law, she is entitled to workers’ compensation for work-related injuries, and she filed a claim for such benefits. Her boss, however, was reluctant to incur such expenses. He fired the manager, claiming that he had video surveillance footage of her stealing $600 from the company safe.

The manager challenged these allegations and took Chipotle to court, where it was discovered that no such evidence existed. Chipotle was found guilty of wrongful termination. Instead of paying the former manager for her medical bills associated with the injury—which would have likely amounted to a couple thousand dollars, the court ordered Chipotle to pay her a whopping $8 million in damages.

No matter where you work, the law provides certain guarantees about your working conditions. You’re entitled to have your health and safety protected on the job and to be treated without discrimination, among other rights. If these basic needs are not being met in your workplace, it’s worth consulting with an experienced employment attorney to better understand your rights and recourse.

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