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Employer retaliation claims up; maybe for good reason

The federal government confirms that claims of employer retaliation by workers in California and around the country are on the rise. The voices from the side of the employers would have readers believe that one reason this is happening is that the courts are lowering the standard of proof that victims of employer retaliation have to meet in order to win their claims. But that's too simple an answer.

If retaliation claims are on the rise, and those claims are being upheld as valid in courts of law in Los Angeles and elsewhere, it's because there is retaliation going on. And those who are the victims of such action have every right to seek redress for such discrimination, harassment and having to endure a purposely created hostile work environment. Those who think they have such a claim should be in contact with an experienced attorney to learn about their rights and assess if they have a case.

Based on the data from the government, there is plenty to indicate that there is growing merit to the claims of employer retaliation. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that the number of retaliation claims presented at EEOC offices has more than doubled since 1997. Settlements for such claims have more than tripled since that time.

Just in fiscal year 2011, the EEOC reports that claims increased by 3 percent and accounted for just over 37 percent of all worker complaints filed.

Some legal experts point to the lowered bar regarding proof as the reason for the uptick. They point to one 2006 case in particular in which the female plaintiff argued that her reassignment to a different job and a temporary suspension were spurred by the company retaliating against her for launching a sexual harassment complaint. She won, with the notoriously conservative U.S. Supreme Court deciding that actions by a company that might dissuade individuals from raising reasonable discrimination claims amount to retaliation.

But again, what this fails to take into account is that individuals have rights in whatever situation they might find themselves. Being employed by someone does not make a person chattel that can be mistreated and discriminated against.

Source: Business Insurance, "Supervisory retaliation is a growing liability for employers," Judy Greenwald, Aug. 5, 2012

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Law Offices of Allan A. Sigel, P.C.

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