As an employee who has faced discrimination in the workplace, you may be rightfully concerned about complaining or taking legal action against your employer. Some employers do take negative or retaliatory steps against employees who have reported discrimination or harassment. However, retaliation is illegal. If you believe you may have been the victim of retaliation in the workplace, you should call experienced Washington, D.C. employment lawyer Matthew Famiglietti.Retaliation
Federal and local laws prohibit discrimination based on protected characteristics. Many federal antidiscrimination laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and protect different characteristics. One of these laws, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination based on color, race, sex, national origin, and religion. It applies to workplaces with at least 15 employees. Damages are capped based on the size of the employer.
The District of Columbia Human Rights Law is broader than federal law. It allows anybody who believes there has been either a particular instance of job discrimination or a general pattern of discrimination to file a complaint with the Office of Human Rights. Employees can file a claim in Washington, D.C. Superior Court. Washington, D.C. Code § 2-1402.61 forbids workplace discrimination based on color, race, national origin, religion, age, sex, personal appearance, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation, matriculation, family responsibilities and genetic information. For instance, if you were not promoted because you came out as gay, you may have a claim for workplace discrimination.
Both laws permit employers to be held accountable for actions that are taken, even in part, because of discrimination. However, it is easier to establish retaliation under the Washington, D.C. law because employees who face retaliation for making or assisting with a complaint only need to show the complaint was part of the reason they faced retaliation.
It is also illegal under this law for anybody to ask that someone retaliate against, intimidate, interfere with or discriminate against someone because that person opposed a practice that was made illegal or because the person filed a charge or participated in an investigation or other proceeding.
Retaliation occurs when a Washington, D.C. employer responds to an employee’s protected act in a negative way. You should not be fired or treated adversely in retaliation for filing a charge, testifying or helping in an investigation related to a protected activity.
Under § 32-1542, it is illegal for an employer to discharge or in any other way discriminate against an employee with regard to his job because the employee had claimed or tried to claim compensation. Retaliation can also occur if an employee testifies or is about to testify as to compensation. Employees discriminated against in this way may be able to be reinstated and compensated for the loss of wages.
You may find that the court does not agree you were discriminated against, based on legal definitions and case law. However, so long as you had a good faith belief in the discrimination you reported or testified in connection with, you may still be able to recover damages for retaliation.
You may be promoted, reinstated, or hired if you win a suit for retaliation. However, the relationship between you and the employer may have broken down too much to be repaired. You may also be able to obtain compensatory damages, civil penalties, litigation costs, and attorneys’ fees.Public Policy in Washington, D.C.
Employees that report the wrongdoing of their employers are also protected under specific circumstances. Reporting an employer’s criminal acts, regulatory violations, or other legal violations to authorities is known as whistleblowing. In most cases, whistleblowing laws prohibit retaliation against an employee.Retain a Seasoned Lawyer in Washington, D.C.
If you’re concerned about retaliation, you should discuss your situation with experienced attorney Matthew T. Famiglietti. Mr. Famiglietti is a lawyer who represents workers in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. Complete our online form or call the Law Office of Matthew T. Famiglietti at (202) 669-5880.