Retaliation Claims: No Discrimination Found

You May Have A Retaliation Claim Even If No Discrimination Is Found

I. Retaliation

The Massachusetts Anti-Discrimination Statute ("Chapter 151B") makes it unlawful for any person to retaliate against any person because he has opposed any unlawful practices under said chapter or because he has pursued a claim or assisted in one or an aiding and abetting claim under subsection 5.Chapter 151B also prohibits intimidating or threatening an employee in retaliation for exercising rights under said chapter. To present a case of retaliation, a person must show that he or she engaged in legally protected conduct; suffered an adverse employment action; and some cause and effect connection existed between the protected conduct and the adverse action.

II. Examples of Retaliation

The company cannot fire or demote you because it learns of your physical or mental impairment or because you sought an accommodation. It cannot retaliate against you for your exercise of your rights, for example if you consult a lawyer who writes to the employer pointing out your legal rights. If the company retaliates, it will also have violated the employment discrimination law.

III. Modern Law

Not only does this principle apply to anti-discrimination protected activities and retaliation for acting to protect rights, there are other areas in which employees are protected from retaliation. There is a growing list of federal and state whistle-blower protection laws, not to mention a Massachusetts Court created public policy exception: an at-will employee may not be fired for reporting internally or externally circumstances that the employee reasonably and in good faith believes violate our public safety laws and certain other laws, such as criminal conduct, violation of securities laws, fraud and financial wrongdoing affecting the government (and us the taxpayers). Our office has settled retaliation claims in several contexts.