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Documentation key to workplace retaliation claims

Many Michigan residents have undoubtedly dealt with a hostile workplace at some point in their working lives. In today's uncertain economy, many workplaces might be struggling to stay afloat and workers at all levels may understandably be on edge. Some may even remain in jobs where they are treated poorly, due to fear of losing their paycheck or dealing with the repercussions of getting fired. In these types of situations, an employment law attorney may be able to help.

Some might think that racial discrimination is the most common type of workplace discrimination. While this type of illegal discrimination is indeed a serious problem, it is actually workplace retaliation claims that compose the highest number of complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These claims make up almost half of those filed with the commission, demonstrating the extent of the retaliation problem.

So, what is workplace retaliation? A Michigan employment law attorney can answer this question thoroughly and offer valuable legal advice. In general, retaliation is when a worker is fired, demoted or even harassed due to the fact that they made a complaint about something in the workplace or because they were a whistleblower or filed a discrimination claim.

Retaliation can be a way to "punish" a worker for trying to assert his or her rights, and it can also be a method of keeping the complaining worker - and other workers - in line so that they don't speak out against an employer. Retaliation can happen not only to workers at the entry level but also to job applicants and high-level professionals. Unfortunately, illegal workplace retaliation can happen to just about anybody.

Workers who have experienced workplace discrimination may want to seek help from an experienced attorney. It can also be extremely helpful for the worker to document instances of retaliation -- for example, saving threats that are issued via email or voicemail, documenting the results of interactions with human resources and so on. By having multiple pieces of evidence regarding retaliation, it may be that much more manageable to address the overarching issue, with an employment law attorney's help.

Source: NPR, "Advice for dealing with workplace retaliation: Save those nasty emails," accessed Sept. 18, 2016

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