Avoiding Retaliation Claims

A Florida employee who engages in activities protected by law or who reports labor law violations by their employer is protected from termination under both federal and state law. Any adverse action taken by an employer towards an employee is considered retaliation. Some adverse actions that could be considered as retaliation are harassment that persists, poor performance reviews, reprimands, dismissals, and demotions. The Florida Civil Rights Act guarantees protections against retaliation for employees, and the Florida Commission on Human Relations examines claims of retaliation. An employee’s right to be free from retaliation is guaranteed by federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Your Responsibility as an Employer in Preventing Workplace Retaliation

You can save money on legal fees by having employee retaliation prevention policies in place.

When an employee makes a formal complaint to you as you are their employer, you are obligated to take the following preventative actions: 

  • Record preventive actions against retaliation taken by the Company/Employer;
  • Ensure that employee’s grievance remains anonymous; and 
  • Ensure that the employee’s grievance is taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

We understand that it is disheartening to get an accusation or complaint of discrimination when you know that as an employer, you haven’t deliberately committed any wrong against any of your employees. You would feel like punishing the employee who filed the complaint against you by either suspending or dismissing the employee. However, you should not go ahead and take such actions as you could be breaking the law if you do so. So the question is, what should you do? 

Educate yourself about your duties as an employer. It is illegal to retaliate a job applicant, employee, or former employee for engaging in any of the following activities: filing a complaint of discrimination with your company; filing a charge of discrimination with a federal, state, or local agency; participating in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit; or opposing discrimination in any form (for example, threatening to file a charge or complaint of discrimination).

All your employees should be treated equally. Set a precedent of free communication in your company, so that employees feel comfortable to file complaints of discrimination. Ignoring employee complaints of discrimination can have serious consequences. React promptly and appropriately to inquiries, concerns, and complaints relating to discrimination. Ensure that employees are accountable for their actions and that they adhere to your company’s anti-discrimination policies. Also ensure that your company anti-discrimination policies are consistently applied and enforced. 

The Florida laws governing retaliation are complex. Our experienced employment attorney at the Walsh Law Firm, LLC can advise you on how to prevent retaliation at your company. You as an employer can benefit from the advice of our experienced employment attorneys since we are equipped to handle your concerns and can help you draft company policies in compliance with the federal and Florida’s employment laws. You can work with our experienced employment law attorney at the Walsh Law Firm, LLC to discuss and formulate company policies and practices to prevent retaliation claims and you can contact us here.