Illegal retaliation in the workplace comes in many forms. While some types of retaliation are easily recognized as blatant violations of the law, others are more subtle — but equally illegal. Therefore, it is important for employees in Texas and around the country to be aware of their rights and take action if they believe they have been subject to illegal retaliation by an employer.
Types of employment retaliation
Texas state laws and federal statutes make it illegal for employers to take adverse employment actions against workers to punish or prevent them from engaging in certain protected activities, which are described below. Some common examples of retaliation methods include:
- Refusal to hire
- Pay cuts
- Scheduling changes
Retaliation may also involve any other action that creates an adverse change in the terms or conditions of employment.
When are Texas workers protected from retaliation?
Workers in Texas are protected from employer retaliation when they engage in protected activities such as:
- Opposing a practice that the worker believes is illegal discrimination. Examples of protected opposition include complaining to management about alleged discrimination, threatening to file a discrimination charge, and refusing to comply with a discriminatory order.
- Participating in an employment discrimination proceeding. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for filing a discrimination charge, cooperating in an investigation or serving as a witness in a discrimination case.
- Requesting reasonable accommodations. Workers are protected from retaliation when they request reasonable accommodations from an employer on the basis of religion or disability, for instance by asking to wear a religious head covering to work or to have a wheelchair ramp installed in the workplace.
In addition to state and federal laws protecting Texas workers from discrimination-related retaliation, other laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who engage in other activities such as applying for workers' compensation benefits, taking family medical leave, opposing an illegal practice and reporting safety concerns in the workplace.
Legal help for victims of employment retaliation
Despite numerous laws prohibiting retaliation, some companies continue to punish workers illegally for exercising their legal rights, and they must be held accountable. Employees who believe they have experienced illegal retaliation in the workplace should discuss their situation with a knowledgeable employment law attorney who can advise them of their rights and legal options.