KEY ISSUES IN CONNECTICUT EMPLOYER RETALIATION
If you believe you might have a cause of action for employer retaliation, ask yourself the following questions:
DID YOU (ANY ONE OF THE BELOW):
- Report a perceived violation of the law?
- Complain about workplace discrimination?
- File for workers’ compensation?
- Request or take family or medical leave?
DID YOU SUFFER SOME SORT OF NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCE AFTERWARD, INCLUDING:
- Pay cut
- Cut in hours
- Transfer you didn’t want
If you answered “Yes” to both questions, you may have a cause of action for employer retaliation.
Employers sometimes engage in wrongful or illegal actions in the workplace. Brave and honest employees may stand up against them and oppose that illegal behavior. Employers frequently strike back with punitive actions against employees who oppose their illegal behavior. Such retaliation is illegal in Connecticut.
If an employer retaliates against an employee for opposing illegal employer conduct, that employee may have a legal claim for damages, especially if that employee is fired.
Connecticut Employer Retaliation Lawyer
If your employer has retaliated against you for reporting wrongdoing or discrimination, taking family or medical leave, filing for workers’ comp or some other legal action, you can fight back. Our Hartford employer retaliation lawyers at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore can help you be reinstated to your old position, receive your back pay and win compensatory damages. Contact us today by filling out our online form.
The Hartford-based attorneys at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore represent clients in New Haven, Milford, Waterbury, Bridgeport, Stamford and throughout Connecticut.
Connecticut Employer Retaliation Information Center
Retaliation means any negative employment decision in response to a legally protected act. It clearly covers termination, demotion, pay cuts, cuts in hours worked and other acts. It also covers transfers that reduce the future opportunities for promotion, and even transfers that are simply undesirable, if they are made as a reaction to that legally protected act.
For instance, Brenda works as a claims adjuster for an insurance company in New Haven. She is the recipient of unwanted advances from a coworker, Edward. She reports the harassment to the Human Resources, and ask that Edward be disciplined. Within a week, HR moves Brenda to a different department.
The pay and hours are the same. However, other than the harassment, Brenda liked her old environment. She complains, and HR replies that Edward’s offenses were not termination-worthy but they were seeking to separate her from him, for her protection. He is less versatile and therefore more difficult to transfer within the company, so they transferred her, instead.
Brenda’s situation may constitute retaliation because she was hurt by opposing a discriminatory practice, an illegal act of retaliation.
Connecticut General Statutes 31-51m prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers, meaning those who report infractions of the law on the part of their employer to an outside agency. Commonly violated laws include:
Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, which prohibits and kind of discrimination on the basis of sex, race, national origin, sexual orientation, age or other named traits;
Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law that prohibits, in Title VII, discrimination in employment;
Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against people over age 40;
Equal Pay Act, which requires companies to pay people equally on the basis of sex;
Fair Labor Standards Act, federal law that requires employers pay a minimum wage, and that most employees be paid for how many hours they work and make overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a week;
Connecticut Minimum Wage Act, which requires Connecticut employers to pay at least a certain amount per hour;
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which places certain reporting, disclosure and ethics requirements on publicly traded companies;
Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, which put safety requirements on workplaces.
This is not an exhaustive list. Connecticut law prohibits employers from retaliating against reporting a violation of any law, including criminal statutes and environmental regulations.
For example, Alex is a foreman for a construction company in Greenwich. One day, he notices the scaffolding at a site is unsafe, and in violation of OSHA regulations. He reports the findings to his company and says he cannot order his crew onto the scaffolding while it is in its current condition.
His company does nothing, so Alex calls OSHA and his employer finds out. Subsequently, Alex is moved to an office position, with less pay. He is told the reason is because he is interfering with the project. Alex might have a cause of action for employer retaliation. His Connecticut employment lawyer can help him build a case against his employer.
You do not have to prove that the violation actually occurred to prove retaliation. If the retaliation occurred due to your report, you may have a cause of action.
Under Connecticut General Statutes 46a-60, it is illegal to retaliate against an employee not just for reporting employment discrimination, but also for opposing it. If you see discrimination and speak out against it to your boss, your employer cannot take negative action against you.
For instance, Dianne is an administrative assistant for the human resources department at a plastics manufacturing plant in Norwalk. Her boss hands her a stack of resumes for a position and tells her to sort out the ones for people older than 50, saying that the company wants to “hire someone who will have some longevity here.” Dianne knows it is illegal to discriminate against people for age in Connecticut, so she informs her boss that it is wrong and illegal to do so. Dianne is soon switched to another office, working fewer hours. Dianne may have a claim that her employer retaliated for opposing discrimination.
Retaliation for Taking Advantage of a Worker’s Right in Connecticut
Connecticut law gives injured workers the right to seek workers’ compensation if injured on the job. Workers’ compensation covers medical bills and may compensate employees who become disabled as a result of their injuries.
It is paid for out of an insurance policy that the employer is required to participate. When an employee files a claim, rates for the employer typically go up. However, it is illegal for the employer to use the fact that the employee filed a workers’ compensation claim as a motivating factor to discipline or retaliate against that employee.
It is also illegal to retaliate against an employee for taking leave guaranteed by the federal or Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act. If you are qualified to take leave and your company meets the criteria under law to be required to give it, your employer cannot demote you or otherwise take negative action while you are gone.
Obtained settlement for drug store worker after he complained to company hotline about sexual harassment.
Obtained settlement for production assistant who was sexually harassed in the workplace and later terminated for false reasons.
Obtained settlement for women who worked at medical supply company who had been sexually harassed and threatened with termination.
Meet with a Connecticut Employer Retaliation Attorney
If you’ve faced workplace retaliation for any legally protected action, the Hartford employer retaliation lawyers of Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore can help you. Whether you reported discrimination or unlawful action, or you took family or medical leave or filed for workers’ compensation, you have a right against retaliation.