LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Carl D. Shaw | Apr 18, 2013

Can an Employer Retaliate Against an EEOC or Unpaid Wage Claim?

Many employees have trouble properly standing up to their bosses for being discriminated against or for not being paid because they fear that their bosses will retaliate. Little do they know that they have the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Fair Labor Standards Act backing them up. After reading this, hopefully you will understand the appropriate reasons to file certain types of claims and why your boss is not allowed to retaliate.

EEOC Claims (Discrimination)

An employer is not allowed to demote, harass, or even fire an employee for filing an accusation of discrimination. Doing so would be considered retaliation. The laws that forbid discrimination based on color, sex, national origin, age, race, and disability also forbid retaliation against employees who dispute illegal discrimination or take part in an employment discrimination proceeding.

According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “retaliation occurs when an employer, employment agency, or labor organization takes an adverse action against a covered individual because he or she engaged ina protected activity."

The unlawful actions that are carried out by an employer to retaliate against an employee are called adverse actions. Firing or refusing to hire an employee and threats or assault are the main types of adverse actions. These are measures taken to prevent an employee from hurting a business as a result of a possible EEOC claim.

Covered individuals are those who are opposed to illegal practices, took part in proceedings, or demanded modifications related to employment discrimination based on color, sex, national origin, age, race, and disability. Any individuals who oppose any practices that are not related to employment are not covered under the EEOC.

Protected activity consists of notifying an employer that you think he or she is illegally discriminating, specifically by threatening to file a charge of discrimination and/or protesting against discrimination.

Unpaid Wage Claims

The Fair Labor Standards Act defends employees from retaliation by employers after filing a wage claim. To verify that an employer retaliated, you need to display evidence, such as certain statements or patterns of behaviors, showing that your employer took action against you as a result of you filing a wage claim.

The good news is that you might have the ability to obtain lost wages and/or get your job back if you can show that your employer retaliated against you for opposing discrimination. If you are unable to do so on your own, your best bet is to contact an attorney who will assist you through the process.

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