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What businesses should know about employee retaliation lawsuits

Most employers in Florida are probably aware that they cannot act in a discriminatory manner toward their employees. Those who do may find themselves facing legal action. Some forms of discrimination are fairly obvious and get a lot of attention in the media. Denying a person a position or firing a person because of his or her race, gender or sexual orientation will likely land a company in hot water.

However, according to the Insurance Journal, the most common form of employment discrimination claim brought against employers in 2016 was for retaliation. In fact, nearly half of all claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involved a claim of retaliation by an employer. That is why it is important for employers to understand what constitutes such an action so that claims may be avoided.

As the EEOC website explains, if an employee files a complaint that his or her employer has acted in a discriminatory manner and the company then punishes the employee in some way for doing so, retaliation has occurred. It should be noted that the punishment must be substantial and not simply trivial in nature. It must also directly result from the employee’s discrimination complaint.

For example, say an employee files a complaint with the human resources department that he or she was passed for a promotion because of their race despite being better qualified than other candidates. Then, a short time later, that employee is demoted and moved to a lesser position, retaliation by the employer may have taken place. Companies who wish to avoid claims of retaliation should take measures to ensure they remain in compliance with EEOC regulations at all times.

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