Workplace Retaliation Lawyers in Dallas
Employers cannot retaliate against employees for engaging in a protected activity. Generally speaking, “protected activity” consists of making a report or complaint of unlawful discrimination or harassment, or for supporting another’s claim.
In addition, under the Texas workplace retaliation laws, it is illegal to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Employers who retaliate may be sued by employees both for the underlying claim and for retaliation.
At Lindquist Wood Edwards LLP, our skilled Dallas workplace retaliation attorneys advise employers and employees concerning a wide range of employment law issues. If you are a Texas employer facing a retaliation claim, or you are a Texas worker who has been unlawfully retaliated against, you need to take immediate action to protect your rights. For a fully confidential consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our Dallas law office today.
What is Workplace Retaliation?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) notes that retaliation is among the most common causes of action cited in employment discrimination cases. Workplace retaliation can come in a wide range of different forms.
Ultimately, unlawful workplace retaliation occurs when an employer takes an adverse action against a worker because that worker engaged in some form of protected activity. Common examples of this include the following alleged adverse employer actions:
- Firing an employee;
- Demoting an employee;
- Transferring an employee;
- Reducing an employee’s pay or hours; and
- Giving an employee a negative performance review.
When Can Employees Sue For Retaliation?
If an adverse employer action is in retaliation for the employee engaging in a protected activity, the employee may bring a claim under several federal statutes, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and also under Texas state law.
As these cases are notoriously complex, both Texas employers and employees need to be ready to seek immediate assistance from an experienced workplace retaliation attorney. For employees, there is only a limited amount of time available to file a workplace retaliation claim.
For employers, it crucial that they start building their legal defense as soon as an employment law claim has been filed against them.
How Do Plaintiff’s Lawyers Prove Workplace Retaliation in Texas?
In order to prove a workplace retaliation claim in Texas, a plaintiff’s lawyer must prove all of the required legal elements of the violation. As with other employment law matters, plaintiff’s lawyers will only be able to prove these elements if they can present compelling evidence.
The Required Elements of a Workplace Retaliation Claim
There are three basic legal elements that must be established in every workplace retaliation claim. No matter the specific underlying violation or alleged reason for the workplace retaliation, a Dallas, TX employment law attorney must prove:
- The Employee Engaged in a ‘Protected Activity’: It is important to remember that Texas is an at-will employment law state. Employers have a right to hire and fire workers for many different reasons, including for silly or misguided reasons. However, adverse action cannot be taken for an illegal reason. If an employee engaged in a protected activity, such as reporting sexual harassment or workplace discrimination, they cannot be punished for doing so.
- The Employer took ‘Adverse Action’: Beyond proving that an employee actually engaged in a protected activity, a plaintiff’s lawyer must also prove that the company took adverse action against them. Adverse action can come in many different forms, from obvious things such as firing or outright demotion, to more subtle actions, such as relocating a worker or preventing them from getting promoted.
- There is a Connection Between the Protected Activity and the Adverse Action: Finally, there must be a link between the protected activity and the adverse employment action. In the overwhelming majority of workplace retaliation disputes, this is the element that is contested. It can be difficult to prove a connection, as employers may disguise the link by offering a pretextual reason for the adverse employment action.
Workplace Retaliation Claims Must Be Built On a Strong Foundation of Supporting Evidence
Strong supporting evidence is the key to success in Texas workplace cases. Both employers and employees should be proactive in securing and assembling all available evidence that is related to the claim.
Some of the most important forms of evidence that our Dallas workplace retaliation lawyers will use to pursue or defend this type of legal case include:
- Documentation related to the protected activity, the adverse employment action, or the connection between the two;
- The status of similarly situated employees;
- The timing of the protected activity and the adverse employment action; and
- Testimony from all implicated parties, including witnesses.
Is There A Defense Against Retaliation Claims?
Yes. There are many defenses available in workplace retaliation claims. To build the proper legal defense, Dallas area employers should carefully consider the specific allegations that are being raised against them. In general, their defense must undermine one of the three legal requirements of a workplace retaliation claim. In other words, employers must prove that:
- The employee did not engage in a protected activity;
- No adverse employment action was taken against the worker; or
- The adverse action was taken based on legitimate reasons and was therefore not in retaliation for the protected activity.
Texas employers facing a workplace retaliation lawsuit must start building their defense immediately. The very first thing companies should do is to reach out to a qualified workplace retaliation attorney. A skilled lawyer will be able to investigate the specific facts of the claim and determine what action is required.
In these cases, it is very helpful for employers to provide documentation of the legitimate reasons for your actions. Our workplace retaliation lawyers can review and provide the strongest possible case.
Contact Our Dallas Workplace Retaliation Lawyers Today
At Lindquist Wood Edwards LLP, our Texas employment law attorneys have extensive experience handling workplace retaliation claims. To get immediate guidance with your workplace retaliation case, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm today at (214) 305-2186.
From our office in Dallas, we handle employment law matters throughout Texas, including in Arlington, Fort Worth, Plano, Garland, Grapevine, Frisco, and Denton.