Texas is an at-will employment state, which means employers can discipline or fire employees for almost any reason, whether it seems fair or not. Because of the at-will status, most employees assume they have no legal protection if they are wrongfully terminated or demoted. However, in certain circumstances, workers do have a right to take legal action.
Workplace retaliation describes instances in which employees are punished for participating in legally protected activities (or for refusing to participate in illegal activities). Attorney Dan A. Atkerson provides legal guidance to our Allen, TX, and Plano, TX, clients affected by workplace retaliation involving demotions.
Common Reasons for Workplace Retaliation
Although there are employment laws on both the state and federal level to protect workers’ rights, many employers practice workplace retaliation. Demotion is just one form of retaliation. Employers may demote, fire, or discipline employees, as well as change their salary or hours, in retaliation for actions that they find undesirable.
Some of the most common reasons for workplace retaliation include:
- Reporting an unsafe work environment
- Reporting harassment or discrimination
- Whistleblowing illegal work practices
- Filing for workers’ compensation after an injury
- Making a claim for unpaid wages
- Taking time off work to serve on a jury
- Taking family medical leave
All of the above actions are legally protected. If employees suspect that they have been demoted as a result of these choices, they may have grounds to file a workplace retaliation case.
Proving Workplace Retaliation
It can be difficult to prove workplace retaliation, especially in an at-will employment state. Most employers will not willingly admit that they wrongfully demoted an employee, and many will go as far as providing a false reason for the demotion.
Dan Atkerson has handled cases involving workplace retaliation. To show that workplace retaliation took place, our legal team will provide evidence that the employee participated in a legally protected activity and that he or she was demoted or punished by an employer as a result of those actions.
Types of evidence that are helpful in proving a workplace retaliation case include:
- Inter-office communications (including emails and voicemails)
- Past performance reviews
- Testimony from coworkers
- Adverse actions against other employees who took similar actions, which demonstrates a pattern of workplace retaliation
Rewards in Workplace Retaliation Cases
Attorney Dan Atkerson and our legal team fight hard for maximum compensation for all of our clients. The exact rewards in a workplace retaliation lawsuit will vary based on the specifics of the case. Potential rewards include reinstatement to the former position, compensation for lost wages, the cost of legal fees, and punitive damages.
If you believe that you have been retaliated against by an employer, it is important that you take legal action. Contact us at your earliest convenience to learn about your legal options, or call (214) 383-3606 to schedule a personal consultation with attorney Dan A. Atkerson. We can review your case and determine if you should move forward with a lawsuit. We serve clients in Allen, Plano, and surrounding areas.