Employment Law for Employees: Your Employer's Reasons Matter

In a previous blog, I discussed what constitutes illegal harassment and indicated that harassment must be based on a protected characteristic, such as race, sex, or disability, or a protected activity, such as reporting or opposing discrimination based on one of those protected characteristics. Another example of protected activity is reporting (or being about to report) a violation (or suspected violation) of the law to a public body under the Whistleblowers' Protection Act.

That rule also applies to discrimination and retaliation cases where your employer has taken an "adverse employment action" against you. Examples of such actions include terminations, suspensions or denials of promotions. In other words, if your employer fires you, your termination must be based, at least in substantial part, on a protected characteristic, such as your race or sex, or protected activity, such as reporting or opposing discrimination based on your race or sex. It simply does not matter if your employer's reasons for firing you are wrong, false or immoral if a protected class or protected activity is not one of them.

There are exceptions to this rule, which include those employees who are members of unions or employees with "just cause" employment contracts. Such employees generally have additional protections. However, union employees generally must file and pursue grievances through their unions. Fett & Fields, P.C. does not normally handle union matters, though it does handle cases of "just cause" employment.

If you are experiencing or have experienced discrimination, retaliation or harassment or a hostile work environment, contact Fett & Fields, P.C. today for a free evaluation of your case: https://www.fettlaw.com/Contact.shtml.

Note: This blog entry is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. You should always consult with an attorney before taking or refraining from taking any action in your individual situation.