Federal and North Carolina laws prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee because that employee engages in certain activities. There are numerous retaliation provisions in anti-discrimination and other employment law statutes, and there are also several specific anti-retaliation statutes.
The same laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, pregnancy, age, and disability also prohibit retaliation against employees who oppose discrimination or participated in an employment discrimination proceeding.
Retaliation occurs when an employer takes an “adverse action” against an employee because he or she engaged in a “protected activity.” Protected activity includes filing a charge or complaint of discrimination, participate in an EEOC investigation, provide information in an internal investigation, or sit for a deposition in a discrimination case. Adverse actions include discipline, negative evaluations, issuance of warnings, salary reduction, demotion, reduced hours, discipline, or termination. Retaliation may also include hostile attitudes or behavior by supervisor or co-workers.
The EEOC has published helpful information about retaliation.
North Carolina’s Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) prohibits employers from retaliating or discriminating against an employee who engages in certain protected activity, such as filing a claim, initiating an investigation, testifying in, or otherwise participating in a workers’ compensation, OHSA, or wages and hour proceeding.
The NCDOL has published helpful information about REDA.
There are also specific federal anti-retaliation statutes. For example, a federal government employee has protections under the Whistleblower Protection Act. Employees complaining of financial or accounting fraud or improprieties may be covered by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Protecting Employee Rights
If you have concerns about retaliation for engaging in protected activity, or if you have already faced workplace retaliation, let the experienced attorneys at GMFM fight to protect your rights. Contact us for an evaluation of your case.