Overview: When used in an employment context, the term retaliation refers to taking a vengeful, adverse action against an individual. Advanced levels of employee discipline, such as suspension and termination, may trigger retaliation claims. Employers should provide training to supervisors and managers to determine how to guard against employee retaliation, and how to minimize employer liability with respect to agency charges or court claims.
A number of federal and state laws and regulations contain antiretaliation provisions, which are among the most heavily mediated and litigated employee protections. In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives tens of thousands of retaliation-based complaints each year. Other major federal employment laws containing antiretaliation provisions include the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), as amended by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank), includes penalties for retaliating against whistleblowers. Although these particular statutes are primarily aimed at public companies, the antiretaliation provisions cover all employers.
Trends: Employers should be mindful that, in some instances, courts have found a mere verbal complaint to a supervisor to be sufficient to trigger a retaliation complaint - with any attendant costs, fines and penalties.
Author: Marta Moakley, JD, Legal Editor
It is critical that financial services industry employers understand the consequences of noncompliance with the many laws that apply to this highly regulated industry. This Legal Insight highlights some of the more notable legal requirements to help HR spot potential issues. By becoming more familiar with the growing number of rules applicable to the financial services industry, employers can and should take proactive steps to ensure compliance and thereby lessen any risk of civil and/or criminal liability.
CR Bard Inc., a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical and medical products manufacturer, has agreed to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit with the US Department of Justice for $48.3 million, with over $10 million of the settlement going to the former employee whistleblower who initially filed the court claim.
In-depth review of the spectrum of New York employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to involuntary terminations.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a case that could extend Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) whistleblower protections to employees of private companies that contract with public companies.
XpertHR has updated two of its state sections, Connecticut and New Jersey, to include further guidance on handling employee "whistleblowers" and to include a major exception to age-discrimination claims. Employers with locations in these states should review the additions to remain compliant with the law and proactive in preventing litigation.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Vermont employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee discipline.
A sales representative has filed a class action lawsuit against her employer, Merck & Co., seeking $100 million in damages for discrimination against female employees with respect to compensation and promotion opportunities.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Texas employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee discipline.
The Tennessee Employment At-Will and Terms of Employment sections have been updated to reflect a discussion of the intentional interference with employment cause of action available to employees, illustrated in a recent case decided by the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
Internal investigations are one of the employer's most effective tools to respond to complaints of discrimination, harassment, waste, theft, fraud or other misconduct. This checklist can assist you in deciding whether to investigate, crafting the investigation to be effective, and producing useful results.
HR guidance on the legal risks of retaliation in the workplace.
Sorry, this feature is not yet available on the preview site