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Unlawful retaliation in the workplace

Employees in Indiana may benefit from learning some of the facts about workplace retaliation, as described by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Federal law prohibiting retaliation may prevent employers from harassing, demoting, firing or taking some other type of adverse action against an employee or application for opposing discrimination, filing a discrimination charge or participating in a discrimination proceeding. Laws against retaliation are similar to those preventing discrimination based on religion, sex, race, national original, disability or age.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the laws that provide employees with protection against retaliation. The Americans with Disabilities Act also establishes laws to safeguard employees from intimidation, harassment, threats, interference or coercion concerning certain rights established by law. Retaliation may be described as an organization taking adverse action against a covered individual for engaging in protected activity.

According to the EEOC, adverse action may qualify as an employer or similar entity attempting to prevent an employee from opposing discriminatory practices. Threats, unwarranted negative evaluations, terminations, denial of promotion, refusal to hire, increased surveillance and unwarranted negative references may all constitute adverse action in the workplace. People who bring attention to violations that are not considered to be employment discrimination are not covered by the retaliation law enforced by the EEOC, although they may be protected by other statutes.

Employees who need protection or a resolution regarding a retaliation incident may benefit from consulting with legal counsel. Lawyers may be able to investigate the complaint and help identify the appropriate legal action to take moving forward. Legal counsel might also be able to help clients get reinstated if they were unlawfully terminated, and may be able to provide assistance with other types of cases as well, including those involving gender, race or age discrimination.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Facts About Retaliation", December 14, 2014

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