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employment law


Introduction to Retaliation Law


Federal and Ohio employment laws recognize that employers are in a position of power and can retaliate against those employees who complain. The law also recognizes the importance of eliminating racial, gender, age, pregnancy and other kinds of discrimination in the workplace, as well as eliminating hostile work environments and other improper employer practices. For these reasons, the law protects employees who seek to exercise their rights from retaliation by their employers.

What is Retaliation?

Under federal and Ohio law, retaliation is when an employee opposes discrimination in the workplace by engaging in a “protected activity,” and their employer takes an “adverse employment action” against them. Obviously, there must be a “causal connection” between the protected activity and the adverse action.

Protected activities include: 

  • Reporting or complaining about discrimination or harassment
  • Filing or being a witness in an equal employment opportunity charge, complaint, investigation, or lawsuit
  • Communicating with a supervisor or manager about employment discrimination or harassment
  • Answering questions during an employer investigation into alleged discrimination or harassment
  • Refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination
  • Intervening to protect other employees who are subjected to discrimination or harassment
  • Requesting accommodation of a disability or for a religious practice
  • Asking managers or co-workers about salary information to uncover potentially discriminatory pay practices
  • Hiring an attorney

Adverse actions can include firing, demotion, failure to promote, denial of pay raises and other benefits, and so forth. I have represented clients who have been fired, demoted, given an unjustified poor performance review, transferred to a less desireable location or assignment, shunned, excluded from meetings within their department, defamed, subjected to further harassment, and otherwise punished for reporting discrimination or sexual harassment. I have also defended employers in cases alleging retaliation.

Contact The Durst Law Firm if You Are Facing a Retaliation Issue

If you believe you have been retaliated against for reporting discrimination or harassment in the workplace, an experienced employment attorney can explain your rights, give you advice based on your particular situation and explain the pros and cons of taking action. Likewise, if your business is being sued for retaliation, or if an Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge has been filed against you, an experienced attorney can provide guidance on the best strategy to address and fight the accusations. Call us today at (513) 621-4999 to discuss your options.