Texas Retaliation Attorneys
Many employees who experience harassment in the workplace or a hostile work environment are afraid to report their claims specifically because of possible retaliation by their employers. When an employer retaliates against an employee for engaging in a lawful protected activity, the employer could be liable for damages.
Retaliation claims often involve job loss, but employers can retaliate in many other ways, including demotions, pay reductions, or other adverse employment actions. In most cases, employees can prove retaliation claims when these actions are taken shortly after an employee has engaged in a lawfully protected activity, such as reporting a discrimination claim or taking Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) leave.
If your employer retaliated against you for taking legally protected action, do not wait to retain legal counsel. Retaliation claims can be very complicated, but an experienced lawyer will know how to prove your case.
Leichter Law Firm PC fights to protect the rights of employees all over Texas in a wide variety of employment industries. Call 1-833-OT-WAGES or fill out an online contact form to have our Texas retaliation lawyers review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free consultation.
Many employees think that their retaliation cases are fairly clear-cut and will not be too difficult to prove. The same people are often shocked when their employers deny liability and claim their actions were “for cause.”
Remember that many employees in Texas are considered “at-will,” which gives employers the power to terminate employees for pretty much any reason or no reason at all. “For cause” terminations are generally when the employer believes you have violated the company’s policies or practices or the terms of your employment. When an employer is accused of retaliation, the chances are good that they will have excuses already worked up to justify their decision.
Proving retaliation can be far more difficult than most people expect, which is where an attorney will prove most beneficial. The lawyer will be able to conduct an independent investigation to gather important evidence relating to your claim that can help prove your case.
Retaliation claims can result in victims receiving awards for lost wages, mental anguish, and other compensatory damages. An attorney will give you the best chance of recovering all of the compensation and getting the justice you are entitled to.
Leichter Law Firm PC has handled multiple retaliation actions for numerous clients. In one case, we settled the case of a woman for a confidential amount after she was terminated by an airline employer when she complained about a co-worker who sexually harassed her and refused to work in the same areas as the man.
Louis Leichter is the founder of Leichter Law Firm PC and has received an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell in 2018, a peer rating denoting the highest level of professional excellence. David Langenfeld is Board Certified as a Specialist in Labor and Employment Law.
Our firm is based in Austin but also has offices in Houston and McAllen. We are committed to holding employers accountable for their actions.
It will not prevent you, but it could make pursuing your claim more difficult. In the case of qui tam lawsuits, or whistleblower lawsuits brought under the False Claims Act, it can be more difficult to collect evidence if you quit. Also, the amount you can recover in such cases could be reduced based on the date you quit. Always talk to an attorney before making any drastic employment decisions.
Employers have multiple ways to challenge retaliation claims. The simplest method is usually through proving that the employer did not know of the employee’s protected activity. In other cases, employers may lean on “for cause” terminations based on poor work performance or misconduct. In some other cases, potential employers may validate applicants not being hired because of inadequate qualifications or negative references. An employer could also identify other employees who were treated similarly and did not engage in protected activity or employees who engaged in protected activity but did not suffer any retaliation.
Types of Retaliation Cases We Handle
Retaliation claims involve an employee engaging in protected activity and an employer responding with an adverse employment action. The retaliatory action could be termination, but it also might be a demotion, a decrease in pay, a change in work schedule, or any other adverse action that creates a hostile work environment or negatively impacts employment.
The reasons why employers retaliate can also vary. Some of the most common causes of retaliation include:
- Filing an EEOC charge of discrimination
- Filing a whistleblower action
- Taking maternity leave
- Taking FMLA leave
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Reporting Occupational Safety and
- Health Administration (OSHA) violations
- Filing a Texas Workforce Commission charge of discrimination
- Participating in an EEOC or Texas Workforce (TWC) investigation
- Requesting a reasonable accommodation
- Filing an overtime pay complaint with the United States Department of Labor
- Reporting unpaid wages
- Reporting illegal accounting or violations of securities laws
- Taking jury duty
- Complying with a valid subpoena
- Refusing to perform an illegal activity
The state laws prohibiting retaliation can be found in Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code. Federal laws prohibiting discrimination include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).
Retaliation claims can often involve separate claims, such as possible discrimination. It may be possible for the other related claims to be dismissed while the retaliation claim survives.
When you suspect retaliation, you can certainly speak to your human resources manager to try and get a written explanation as to why you have had specific changes made to your job. It may be possible that an employer has a perfectly valid answer for their decisions.
Most people who notice unfavorable actions being taken shortly after protected activities can probably safely assume the decisions were indeed intended to be retaliatory. You should still make sure to contact a discrimination lawyer to discuss the specifics of your situation and the best way to proceed.
In January 2018, Business Insurance reported that retaliation charges accounted for the largest number of charges filed with the EEOC in the fiscal year 2017 for the seventh straight year. The 41,097 retaliation-based receipts recorded by the EEOC in the fiscal year 2017 were slightly less than the 42,018 receipts in the prior year but were the second highest total of the past 20 years.
The EEOC also reported 46,811 resolutions to retaliation-based cases in the fiscal year 2017, the most of the past 20 years. The year also saw 2,950 settlements, 2,762 withdrawals with benefits, and 7,746 administrative closures.
According to the EEOC, 32,124 cases in the fiscal year 2017 involved no reasonable cause while 1,229 cases had reasonable cause, with 437 cases resulting in successful conciliations and 792 cases with unsuccessful conciliations. There were 6,241 merit resolutions and $192.0 million in monetary benefits.
In Texas alone, the EEOC reported that the 4,740 receipts for all retaliation claims were 53.7 percent of the 8,827 charges filed in Texas between 2009 and 2017. According to the EEOC, 3,730 cases involved Title VII retaliation claims.
The percentage of all retaliation charges accounting for the percent of total state charges in Texas increased each year between 2009 and 2017. The 4,740 receipts in Texas in the fiscal year 2017 represented 11.6 percent of all retaliation charges in the country.
Did your employer retaliate against you for engaging in a lawfully protected activity? You could be entitled to compensation for the damages you suffered.
Contact a Texas Retaliation Attorney Today
Leichter Law Firm PC is committed to helping employees in Texas harmed by the actions of their employers. You can have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call 1-833-OT-WAGES or contact us online to receive a 100% confidential consultation.