Retaliation Attorneys – Participating in a Hearing or Investigation

What is retaliation based on participation

Retaliation can come in subtle forms, including negative or unflattering performance reviews, a combative or generally unpleasant working environment, removing some or all of an employee’s duties, cutting an employee’s pay or commissions, moving an employee’s office or workspace to a less desirable location, or restricting an employee’s ability to do his or her job properly or effectively.

Employees are protected from employment discrimination and retaliation in the workplace by both state and federal laws.  Under federal law, employees are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.  Generally this federal law is simply referred to as Title VII or the Civil Rights Act.

Retaliation Under Title VII

There are two forms of retaliation prohibited by Title VII:

  1. Retaliation based on participating in a trial or investigation
  2. Retaliation based on opposing discrimination or harassment

What Type of Participation is Protected?

Retaliation based on participation protects an employee from being retaliated against for “participating” in the legal process in any way. Although it is usually seen in the context of retaliation for filing a formal complaint (such as a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), it can be the result of a wide array of participation.

For example, if an employee files a charge or complaint and the parties agree to mediate that charge or complaint, the mediation constitutes “participation” in the legal process. Accordingly, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee for engaging in the mediation.

Witnesses are also protected from retaliation under this provision. Oftentimes individuals who are still employed by an employer that is the subject of a former coworker’s charge or complaint are afraid of getting involved, out of fear that he or she will be retaliated against by the employer. Title VII and its state law equivalents have protections built in place for such witnesses, in an effort to promote justice in the workplace.