What is a Retaliatory Discharge?

A Retaliatory Discharge is a form of wrongful termination. Under federal and state laws, it is illegal for an employer to discharge an employee in response to that employee exercising his or her rights. For example, a worker may not be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim, filing a discrimination claim, or for whistleblowing.

How Can I Prove that My Termination was a Retaliatory Discharge?

Although the laws vary from state to state, a discharge is generally retaliatory if the employee:

  • Engaged in a protected activity, such as filing a claim
  • Was terminated
  • The termination was directly linked, or in response to, the worker’s participation in the protected activity

What Damages Can I Seek for a Retaliatory Discharge?

If a worker succeeds in proving his retaliatory discharge claim, he may recover some or all of the following damages from his employer:

  • Back pay
  • Future wages
  • Mental anguish or emotional distress damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Attorney’s fees

Do I Need an Attorney for my Retaliatory Discharge Claim?

The legal process can be very complex and time consuming. If you believe you have been discharged in retaliation for exercising your rights as an employee, an experienced employment lawyer can advise you of whether you have a claim for wrongful termination. An employment attorney also can file any necessary paperwork and represent you in court.

See also…

Hiring, Firing, Wrongful Termination