Retaliation means any adverse action that your supervisor, manager or the company takes against you simply because you complained about sexual harassment or employment discrimination. Any “adverse action” that would deter a reasonable employee in the same situation from making a complaint qualifies as retaliation.  By “Adverse action” it means any act/event in which the employee is fired, demoted, reassigned, denied benefits, denied promotion, denied raises, given less hours to work, shift is changed or tasks are changed for the worst, or the employee is otherwise punished simply because he/she has opposed an unlawful employment practice, such as employment discrimination or sexual harassment.

Even if an investigation finds that the conduct at work is not sexual harassment, or that it has not created a hostile work environment, or result in employment discrimination, the employee making the complaint is protected nonetheless. Once you make the complaint, any action that is taken by your employer from that point on will be highly scrutinized and may be ground for you to make a recovery even if the underlying claim is not viable.

Does the Law Protect a person that files a sexual harassment complaint or an employment discrimination complaint?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, New York State Executive Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law all make it illegal for an employer to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise retaliate against people (applicants, employees or independent contractors) because they filed a charge of discrimination, because they complained to their employer, boss or manager about discrimination on the job, or because they participated in an employment discrimination proceeding (such as an investigation or lawsuit). If you filed a sexual harassment complaint and are now are facing retaliation call the Akin Law Group to discuss your situation with a dedicated sexual harassment lawyer and/or a work retaliation attorney.

Retaliation for filing an employment discrimination complaint in New York City.

In addition to discrimination, federal, state laws, New York City also has laws also which make it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about employment discrimination or sexual harassment, filed a charge of discrimination, a charge of sexual harassment, or participated in an employment discrimination or sexual harassment investigation or lawsuit by being a witness for the victim or has otherwise spoken out against the company.

To make out a retaliation claim under the City law (§ 8-107[7]), “the complaint must allege that: (1) [plaintiff] participated in a protected activity known to defendants; (2) defendants took an action that disadvantaged h[er]; and (3) a causal connection exists between the protected activity and the adverse action” This test is substantially different than the one applicable to the corresponding state law because retaliatory conduct under the City law need not rise to the level of termination or even a materially adverse change to the terms and conditions of plaintiff’s employment (see Williams v NYCHA). As such, even claims that may fail under the State and Federal law, may still be actionable under the more expansive City law.  The laws regarding retaliation are rather complex. In the event you feel you may be facing retaliation, contact one of the sexual harassment and retaliation attorneys at the Akin Law Group for a free consultation.

Does New Jersey Laws Protect a person that files a sexual harassment complaint or an employment discrimination complaint?

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), (N.J.S.A. 10:5-1, et seq.) which prohibits sexual harassment at work and all forms of employment discrimination also protects individuals that file or in any other manner, support individuals that file a sexual harassment or an employment discrimination complaint. Very similar to New York City, the LAD in New Jersey is also more protective than the New York State and the Federal counterparts.

If you have been sexually harassed, faced discrimination at work, or are now facing retaliation because you filed a sexual harassment claim, an employment discrimination claim, or assisted someone that filed these types of claims, you should immediately contact one of the sexual harassment lawyers and/or employment discrimination lawyers at the Akin Law Group.

Can a person be terminated or retaliated for filing a minimum wage or overtime claim?

Section 15(a)(3) of the FLSA states that it is a violation for any person to discharge or in any other manner discriminate or retaliate against any employee because such employee filed a complaint or commenced an action for minimum wage or overtime violations, or is about to testify in such a proceeding. Section 215 of the New York State Labor Law makes it illegal for employers to discharge, penalize, or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against an employee for:

  • Making a complaint about a possible labor law violation to the employer
  • Making a complaint about not being paid the minimum wage or overtime wages
  • Making a complaint about not being paid the “prevailing wage”
  • Providing information to the Labor Department or to the Courts
  • Testifying in an investigation or other proceeding under Labor Law
  • Exercising any rights that are protected under Labor Law

If an employer violates this law, the New York State Department of Labor can:

  • Assess a penalty from $1,000 to $20,000. The maximum penalty was increased from
  • $10,000 to $20,000
  • Order payment of lost compensation to the employee
  • Order payment of liquidated damages

The employee also can bring a private civil action in court by contacting one of the wage and hour attorneys at the Akin Law Group. Our wage and hour lawyers can help you to obtain:

  • Reinstatement to your former position
  • Restoration of seniority
  • Payment of lost compensation
  • Receive liquidated damages (additional payments)
  • Payment of reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses

If you have made a complaint about sexual harassment, employment discrimination, hostile work environment at your workplace, or have made a complaint because you were being paid less than the minimum wage or were being denied overtime pay or pay at the prevailing wage rate and feel that you are now being treated differently, call the Akin Law Group immediately at 212-825-1400 and speak to one of our retaliation attorneys or sexual harassment and employment discrimination lawyers.

You will always be treated with the dignity and respect that you deserve.