Retaliation Claims Often Arise in Employment Discrimination
The Massachusetts anti-discrimination statute (“Chapter 151B“) and certain Federal laws banning discrimination and whistle-blowing statutes make it unlawful for any person to retaliate against any person because he has opposed unlawful practices or because the employee has pursued a claim or assisted in the claim or investigation. The aiding and abetting by a supervisor, for instance, claim under Chapter 151B, subsection 5, also prohibits intimidating or threatening an employee in retaliation for exercising their rights to be free of discrimination 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. The proof of negative action (s) by an employer may be found to be close in time, up to a year or so, of the “protected activity” to indicate retaliatory intent.
II. Examples of Retaliation
The company cannot fire or demote you because you sought an accommodation after it learned of your physical or mental impairment. It cannot retaliate against you for exercising of your rights. If the company retaliates, it will also have violated the employment discrimination law.
III. Retaliation in other contexts.
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 and Massachusetts Courts 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).