An employer may not retaliate against an employee for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation of discrimination or otherwise opposing discrimination in the workplace.
Retaliation can occur in the form of coercion, intimidation, threat, harassment or interference with the exercise of the individual’s rights or encouragement or support of another individual exercising his/her legal rights under Title VII (which prohibits discrimination based on race, gender/sex, religion, ethic origin, national origin, and pregnancy), the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Age Discrimination and Employment Act.
An employer violates the law if it takes any retaliatory action against an employee who complains about discrimination to his or her employer or to a federal or state agency.
Our attorneys have successfully brought and defended retaliation claims in the federal and state courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
A number of federal and state laws protect whistleblowers from retaliation. In New Jersey, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act provides extensive protection to employees who report violations of law or public policy. Pennsylvania employees who report misuse of government funds may be protected by the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law and employees who object to other forms of wrongdoing may be protected by common law.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act provide protection against retaliation for whistleblowers who report violations of federal law. The False Claims Act allows an employee or other person who reports a fraudulent claim made to the federal government to file suit and obtain a percentage of the amount of money thatthe wrongdoer defrauded from the government.
Whistleblower laws can be complex. Hardwick Benfer assists employees in navigating the thicket of interrelated laws to maximize the employee’s protection and possible recovery.