Retaliating against employees who report or oppose discrimination in the workplace is against the law. However, the reporting or opposition by the employee must be related to discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race, religion, national origin or a disability. If the employee is not reporting or opposing discrimination based upon one of those categories described (or one of the whistleblower claims described elsewhere), then the employee is not likely to have a legal claim. Employers rarely state or admit that they are retaliating, so the employee must look for circumstantial evidence–clues–to support such claim. Those clues might include: the employer’s negative reaction to the report of discrimination, a failure to investigate the report of discrimination, issuing unwarranted discipline to the reporting employee, the employer failing to follow its own policies and procedures in handling the complaint of discrimination and terminating the reporting employee within four months of the report of discrimination. Texas courts generally do not consider termination more than four months after reporting discrimination to be evidence of retaliation. If you have been retaliated against by your employer after reporting or opposing discrimination, the attorneys at Hutchison & Foreman, PLLC in obtaining justice.
Administrative Requirements and Deadlines
Before you can file a lawsuit for retaliation, you must go through an administrative procedure with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). It is initiated by you filing what is called a “Charge,” a document that outlines the basis for your complaint. Federal and state laws provide time deadlines for a victim of retaliation to file the Charge. Under federal law, you must file the Charge within 300 days of the date of the retaliation (or the date you get notice of the retaliation, such as notice of termination). Under Texas law, you must file the Charge within 180 days of the date of retaliation (or the date you are notified of such). Whether the administrative agency investigates or not, they will at some point issue you a Notice of Right to Sue, after which time you can file a lawsuit. Failing to file the Charge and get the Notice of Right to Sue is fatal to your lawsuit.
Once you get the Notice of Right to Sue, there is a very short period of time to file the lawsuit. A federal Right to Sue gives you 90 days to file suit. A Texas Right to Sue gives you 60 days to file a lawsuit. As you can see, you must act quickly after you receive the notice.
Our attorneys can help you file a Charge and obtain a Right to Sue.