The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee who complains about workplace discrimination, participates in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposes discrimination.
The statute protects employees who engage in “protected activities” such as: complaining about alleged discrimination; cooperating with an internal investigation into alleged discriminatory practices; or serving as a witness in discrimination litigation. If an employee engages in a protected activity, an employer may not take an “adverse action” against the employee in retaliation for the employee’s protected activity. Adverse actions include: termination, demotion, or any other action that a reasonable employee would find to be materially adverse (and hence would dissuade a reasonable employee from engaging in a protected activity).
To prove a retaliation claim, an employee must prove that: (1) he engaged in a protected activity; (2) he was subjected to an adverse action; and (3) a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse action exists. An employer may then rebut the employee’s claim by showing that a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the adverse action exists. If the employer provides evidence of a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the adverse action, the employee must show that the employer’s stated reason is pretext only and that retaliation actually motivated the adverse action.
If you believe you have been retaliated against by your employer and you would like to speak to an employment law attorney, contact the employment lawyers at Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP at [email protected]