Retaliatory Discharge for Workplace Safety Complaints
Workers in the state of Texas are protected from retaliatory actions from their employer after filing complaints, taking part in a workplace investigation, or practicing other legally protected activities. Unfortunately, even though there are both state and federal laws in place that protect workers from workplace retaliation, it remains a common practice.
Workplace retaliation is often used as a punishment for employees who have made complaints or taken other actions that upset the employer. Workplace retaliation can take many forms, but wrongful termination is one of the most common. Anyone who has faced retaliatory discharge for workplace safety complaints in the Allen, TX area should seek legal action as soon as possible. Attorney Dan A. Atkerson is highly experienced in this field of law and is happy to help clients explore their legal options following a retaliatory discharge.
Protection Against Retaliation
One form of workplace retaliation that is legally protected is whistleblowing, or making complaints regarding unsafe work conditions or practices. Every employee has a right to make a safety complaint within the company, or report a complaint to an outside party, without facing retaliatory action.
Even if a safety complaint is investigated and the claim turns out to be unfounded, an employer is unable to take retaliatory action against that worker, as long as the complaints were made in good faith (i.e. they really believed that safety practices were being broken).
Building a Retaliatory Discharge Case
Some forms of retaliatory action are not very obvious and may be difficult to prove. It is easy to make a link between a safety complaint and wrongful termination if the worker was let go shortly after making such complaints. Still, most employers deny claims of retaliatory action and will be eager to protect themselves against these charges.
It is likely that they will provide a reason for the termination that is completely unrelated to any safety complaints. In most cases, employers will claim that a worker was discharged because of poor work performance.
To build a strong case proving retaliatory discharge for safety complaints, it is important to collect as much evidence as possible. Evidence that may prove useful in these types of cases include:
- Past work reviews showing that job standards were being met or exceeded
- Any emails or other written or verbal communication praising the employee’s work
- Any negative communication related to the safety complaint
- Testimony from other workers regarding any behavior changes on the part of the employer after safety complaints were made
Attorney Dan Atkerson will gather the evidence that is necessary to prove retaliatory discharge, and will provide clients with their legal options regarding recourse. Depending on the details of the case, employees may be due financial compensation for back pay, the loss of future wages, emotional stress, attorney fees, and punitive damages.
If you have been wrongfully terminated after filing a workplace safety complaint, you should work with an experienced attorney, such as Dan A. Atkerson, to ensure your legal rights are protected. Contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss the details of your case and learn more about your legal options.