What are the basic elements of retaliation?

Louisiana employers cannot treat their employees in any way that they like. While employers have a lot of leeway when it comes to employers, some federal laws protect against certain behavior -- including employer retaliation. Under these federal laws, what is retaliation?

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, retaliation occurs when three factors are met. One, an employer must take adverse action. Adverse action includes threats against an employee, terminating the employee, refusing a promotion or refusing to hire. It also includes negative evaluations or references about the employee. Increased surveillance of the employee is also adverse action. Adverse action does not includes the occasional negative comments.

The second factor in retaliation is that the adverse action must be made against a covered individual. A covered individual includes those employees that have asked for accommodations for disability, those that belong to a protected class because of their race, religion, age, gender or similar attribute and those that have complained about illegal practices.

Finally, to be retaliation the covered individual must have been participating in a protected activity when the adverse action occurred. A protected activity complaining to an employer about illegal behavior or unlawful discrimination or taking action against an employer for these reasons. Asking for reasonable accommodations is also considered a protected activity.

If an employee has faced retaliation at work, that employee may be entitled to compensation. An attorney can help to answer specific legal questions -- which this blog post cannot answer -- that can help to determine if an employee should take legal action.