New York law generally prohibits employers from demoting, terminating or taking other adverse actions against employees who engage in protected activities. The following is a look at some other examples of employer retaliation and how you may be able to demonstrate that you were the victim of this illegal act.
Your employer must treat all workers equally
As a general rule, retaliation occurs when a manager or business owner singles you out for disparate treatment. For example, an employer may engage in unlawful retaliation by forcing you to work longer hours than everyone else in the office for several weeks after filing a discrimination complaint. The same may be true if you were the only employee to receive a pay cut or be denied use of a company car after making a sexual harassment claim against a colleague.
Timing is important
Generally speaking, it’s easier to prove an employer’s retaliatory actions if the adverse treatment begins soon after you engaged in a protected activity. Let’s say that you were terminated a few weeks after protesting a new company policy and that the firing was justified by several negative performance reviews that you received just before your termination.
In most cases, courts will view the timing of these events as suspicious at best. It is worth noting that retaliation can occur even if adverse treatment happens months or years after you engage in a lawful activity.
If you believe that you have been the victim of employer retaliation, you may want to speak with an attorney. A lawyer may represent your interests during a trial or negotiate a favorable settlement. You may be entitled to back pay; punitive damages; and other relief, including reinstatement to your former position.