Do you feel like you’ve been unfairly demoted, reassigned, or fired? If so, then you’re probably angry and looking for what you can do to turn the tables on your employer or former employer to obtain a sense of justice.
The good news is that you may be able to do just that by taking legal action. Before you down that road, though, you’ll want to carefully analyze the circumstances to ensure that you’ve got a strong argument to support your position.
How do you analyze the facts of your case?
One of the best ways to look at these cases is to consider the justifications that your employer used to warrant the adverse employment action that was taken against you. Did your employer say that you consistently showed up late for work? That you failed to take instruction? That you violated company policy?
Once you know what your employer is going to argue, then you can look for evidence that contradicts your employer’s position, such as:
- Attendance logs
- Performance appraisals
- Complimentary emails and text messages
- Witness testimony that speaks to your work ethic and positive contributions to the workplace
- Awards and accolades
Be as thorough as you can here. Your goal is to derail your employer’s arguments, thereby demonstrating that the only justification for the adverse employment action was wrongful and illegal in nature.
Examples of retaliation
In some instances, workers are illegally retaliated against for engaging in legally protected activities, such as:
- Complaining about harassment or discrimination
- Cooperating with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s investigation into an alleged violation
- Intervening in harassing and discriminatory situations to protect a victim
- Requesting reasonable accommodations
- Talking to others about potential workplace violations to determine if there’s enough evidence to support a claim with the EEOC
But what does that retaliation look like? As mentioned above, it may include reassignment, demotion, or dismissal, but it can also include any of the following:
- Workplace threats
- Unwarranted reprimands
- Scrutinizing and criticizing your work more than others in the workplace
- Taking away responsibilities that were previously assigned to you, especially if they were supervisory in nature
- Threatening immigration or work status
- Threatening an adverse employment action against a family member or a friend
How will your employer respond?
Your employer is likely to respond that even if there appears to be illegal motivations backing the adverse employment action, there were other legitimate reasons supporting the action. Therefore, your employer may do any of the following:
- Claim that it didn’t know that you were participating in a protected activity
- Argue that you were performing poorly in your position
- Indicate that you lack the qualifications needed for your position
- Accuse you of engaging in some sort of misconduct
- Claim that your work attendance was inadequate
- Allege that the company is downsizing or otherwise restructuring
- Demonstrate that other employees who were similarly situated were treated the same
Remember that the best way to build your case is to anticipate your employer’s arguments. So, before you move forward with you case, think carefully about the evidence that may paint you in a negative light and figure out how to aggressively counter it.
Don’t let your employer get the best of you
Your employer is going to come across as confident and aggressive in these matters. Don’t confuse that for them being in the right. And don’t be frightened by their tactics. Focus instead on what you can do to position yourself for a successful legal argument. If you’d like assistance in doing that, then now may be the time to discuss your circumstances with an experienced employment law attorney.