protection do I have from retaliation by my employer?
How do I prove retaliation?
Is whistleblowing the same thing?
What are some other examples of protected conduct?
How do I know what conduct is protected?
Does this mean I can't be fired after I do something protected?
Can I get into trouble for turning my employer into the authorities
for no good reason?
protection do I have from retaliation by my
The law protects employees from
retaliation for engaging in protected conduct. In Ohio employees
can sue for economic, emotional and punitive damages if their employer
takes adverse employment action against them for engaging in protected
Fortney & Klingshirn provides
answers to frequently asked questions about retaliation and
whistleblowing to help you evaluate your options. These answers
are not a substitute for legal advise. You must consult counsel
liscensed to practice in your state if you believe that you are a
victim of retaliation.
I prove retaliation?
The gist of a retaliation claim is that
an employer "gets back" at an employee for doing something
protected by law. To win a retaliation claim, employees
must prove that:
- they engaged in protected conduct;
- their employer disciplined,
terminated or did something else bad to them; and
- their employer did the bad thing
because they engaged in protected conduct.
whistleblowing the same thing?
Not quite. Whistleblowing
describes a certain kind of protected conduct, which is turning in an
employer for breaking the law. The employer retaliates only if
it takes adverse employment action against the employee as a result.
are some other examples of protected conduct?
Other examples of protected conduct
- filing a complaint with the
department of labor;
- reporting sexually harassing
- serving for the armed forces or
- applying for medical benefits or
A less obvious example occurs when an
employee complains about general working conditions on behalf of
others, even if the conditions are not unlawful. Federal labor
law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for
engaging in such "concerted activity".
Generally speaking, an employee engages
in protected conduct any time he or she exercises an individual right
or does something of public importance.
How do I
know what conduct is protected?
Get to know your rights.
When you exercise them, you engage in protected conduct.
You also engage in protected conduct by
doing things valued by the public, such as reporting wrongdoing or
serving your country or community.
this mean I can't be fired after I do something
Not at all. It means you cannot
be fired because you did something protected.
Your employer can always fire you for a legitimate reason.
Importantly, retaliation suits let
juries second guess an employer's motives. If bad things
follow quickly behind protected conduct, juries tend to believe that
the protected conduct played a part.
Can I get
into trouble for turning my employer into the authorities for no good
Yes. Your employer can discipline
or terminate you for making a groundless, bad faith complaint.