Have you been terminated, disciplined, demoted, harassed, or denied job training, assignments, or a promotion because you stood up for what you believed was discrimination or harassment in the workplace by filing a charge or complaint? Did your former employer provide negative employment references to prospective employers after you filed a charge or complaint against that former employer? If so, you may have a claim for unlawful retaliation.
Retaliation can also come in more subtle forms, including negative or unflattering performance reviews, a combative or generally unpleasant working environment, removing some or all of an employee’s duties, cutting an employee’s pay or commissions, moving an employee’s office or workspace to a less desirable location, or restricting an employee’s ability to do his or her job properly or effectively.
Employees in Wisconsin are protected from employment discrimination and retaliation in the workplace by both state and federal laws. In Wisconsin, the state law is the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA). Under federal law, employees are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. Generally this federal law is simply referred to as Title VII or the Civil Rights Act.
Retaliation Under WFEA & Title VII
When it comes to retaliation, the protections of the WFEA and Title VII are virtually identical.
There are 2 forms of retaliation prohibited by the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act and Title VII:
1. Retaliation based on participation – filing a charge or complaint or participating in a hearing or investigation
Retaliation based on participation protects an employee from being retaliated against for “participating” in the legal process in any way. More specifically, it is usually seen in the context of retaliation for filing a formal complaint, such as a complaint with the Equal Rights Division (ERD) or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
However, it also protects witnesses from being retaliated against for supporting another individual’s charge. So, if a former coworker asks you to testify on their behalf against your current employer, you are protected from retaliation from your employer under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA).
Retaliation for opposing discrimination or harassment occurs when an employer engages in some form of retaliation in response to a complaint about discrimination, for example a verbal complaint to a manager or an internal complaint to the company. The complaint can be about the individual complaining, or it can be about a coworker.
If you filed a complaint against your employer with the ERD or EEOC while you were still employed, and suffered negative consequences from your employer, or if you filed a complaint after you were terminated and your former employer has been providing negative information about you to prospective employers, you may be the victim of retaliation for filing a charge or complaint.
The Walcheske & Luzi, LLC Difference
At Walcheske & Luzi, LLC it is our pledge to provide open and honest advice, taking the time to listen, counsel, and advise. We will work closely with you to determine if you are the victim of retaliation for filing a charge or complaint. Tell us about your retaliation case, we’re ready to help.
Check out our testimonials section, where former clients have described their past experiences with us.