Many employees fear that if they report their employer for breaking federal or state employment laws they will be labeled a “whistleblower” and face retaliation. Federal law protects employees from retaliation by their employers when they take appropriate action to combat discrimination and other illegal workplace behavior, or when they seek to exercise other workplace rights.
What is workplace retaliation?
Many employees are afraid to be a “whistleblower” for fear of retaliation. Some examples of employer and workplace retaliation include:
- Unlawful discharge (firing)
- Being denied a promotion
- Having one’s job duties or responsibilities substantially reduced
North Carolina Retaliation in Employment Discrimination Act
The North Carolina Retaliation in Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) also prohibits certain kinds of workplace retaliation, including retaliation against employees who have filed workplace safety or wage and hour complaints with the North Carolina Department of Labor, or those who have been injured at work and filed workers’ compensation claims.
Who can file a retaliation lawsuit?
In North Carolina, the following individuals can bring/file a retaliation lawsuit:
- Employees who file internal grievances with their companies or external complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because they have been the victims of unlawful discrimination or harassment
- Employees who cooperate with a colleague who files an EEOC charge; for example, a coworker who submits a written statement to the EEOC or gives testimony at a trial corroborating a coworker’s claim
- Family members of employees who have made claims against their employers or sought benefits to which they are legally entitled
- A manager or employee who refuses to participate in a discriminatory or otherwise illegal job action
Help Filing NC REDA Complaints
If you are considering filing a REDA complaint, it can be helpful to talk with an employment attorney first. Retaliation is prohibited, and our lawyers can help help ensure your legal rights are protected in the event it should occur.
Unfortunately, there are loopholes. If you were retaliated against for filing a complaint, the words you used in your complaint are important, as are its timing and proof that the person who retaliated against you knew about the complaint. Whistleblower & retaliation laws are very important to our law firm.