Companies and their management may not retaliate against an employee for taking protected actions such as those listed below…
Reporting unsafe situations
Refusing to perform an illegal act
Taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Requesting reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Complaining about harassment.
Making complaints about wage and hour issues.
Employees may not be terminated just so the employer can avoid providing a benefit, such as vesting.
Also consider the following cases…
Often a retaliation claim is secondary to another claim. The employee sues for sexual harassment, and then claims that he or she was retaliated against for having filed the claim. Surprisingly, the retaliation claim is often upheld even when the main claim is not.
Many retaliation charges are based almost entirely on unfortunate timing. For example, an employee requests leave, files a sexual harassment charge, or makes an OSHA complaint. Two weeks later he or she is fired and charges retaliation. If your documentation and reasons for the firing are not airtight, you’ll have a difficult time convincing a jury that the firing wasn’t retaliation.
Be sure to have an Anti-Retaliation Policy and ensure your employees understand it…or you may both be liable!