What is the Difference Between Retaliation and Unfair Treatment?

What is the Difference Between Retaliation and Unfair Treatment?

It can be confusing, but when being treated unfairly at work, it could actually be considered retaliation. Either way, you could have some sort of claim on your hands. Before moving forward with any legal action, speak with an attorney and learn the difference between retaliation and unfair treatment. 

Did you know that retaliation in the workplace is actually very common? The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives plenty of complaints each year. 

The EEOC’s official definition states that retaliation in a work setting comprises a narrower set of circumstances than what is considered everyday retaliation. Three things must be present for a valid retaliation claim as stated in the Civil Rights Acts of 1964:

  • You have engaged in protected activity
  • Your employer took adverse action against you
  • Your employer did this because you engaged in protected activity

 Those who have filed a discrimination in the workplace claim are always encouraged to do so and should be protected from fear of being fired or punished for doing so. A retaliation reaction to filing a claim could be in the form of being denied a promotion, denied job benefits, a demotion, a suspension, or even a discharge from your job. 

To move forward with a retaliation claim, you must provide evidence. Keep in mind that direct evidence can be very hard to find, but with the right attorney, like the skilled team at Hernandez Law, they will be able to prove it. 

Unfair treatment in the workplace is when you have either been denied a promotion, denied job benefits, a demotion, a suspension, or even a discharge from your job for no reason and before filing any workplace discrimination claims. When this happens, you should always speak with an attorney to know your rights. 

Steps to Take If You Work in a Hostile Environment

Steps to Take If You Work in a Hostile Environment

Working in a hostile environment can be harmful and can really impact your job performance as well as your health. If you feel you are working in a hostile environment, it is vital to be aware of what you can do to improve the situation.

What is Considered a Hostile Work Environment?

The definition of a hostile work environment is unwelcome comments or conduct related to gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, age or nationality that interfere with the work of employees which create an intimidating workplace. These comments or actions can be done by a vendor, client, manager or coworker.

Laws Surrounding Hostile Workplaces

It is unlawful to conduct a hostile, abusive or intimidating workplace, especially in cases where salary and status of an employee may be impacted. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces laws surrounding hostile work environments.

If you are working in a hostile environment, you will need to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This can be done through the mail, in person, or via telephone. Keep in mind that you must file this within 180 days of the incident.

You will also need to report to the proper person at your place of employment and let them know what you are experiencing and that you have filed a charge of discrimination.

Talking With an Employment Law Attorney

Before taking any action, it is best to talk with an experienced employment law attorney to know your rights. They will be able to walk you through everything to ensure your rights are taken into consideration. At Hernandez Law Firm, we specialize in employment law and can help you deal with working in a hostile environment. We can provide the advice you need to fully understand your rights as well as evaluate the case and aggressively fight for you.

How to Know if You Are Dealing with Workplace Discrimination

How to Know if You Are Dealing with Workplace Discrimination

Workplace discrimination is unfortunately not uncommon. From age discrimination, to gender discrimination, to religious discrimination, all different forms of discrimination can be present in the workplace. So, how do you know you are a victim of workplace discrimination?

Age Discrimination

Age discrimination is one of the most common forms of discrimination in the workplace. The signs of age discrimination include: harassment about your age, frequent patterns of encouraging your retirement, and even eliminating your position all together, yet giving the responsibilities to a younger employee. Always be aware of these kinds of signs in the workplace and speak up if you feel that you are being treated differently.

Religious Discrimination

If you are being treated differently or unfavorable because of your religious beliefs, then you are experiencing religious discrimination, which is against the law. You are not allowed to be fired or paid less because of your religion. Keep an eye out for your employee not promoting you or giving you benefits along with giving you tougher assignments. These could all be signs of religious discrimination.

Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination occurs when a woman is treated unfavorable because she is pregnant. This is where the Pregnancy Discrimination Act comes in, which forbids discrimination based on pregnancy during any aspect of employment. This includes hiring, firing, job assignments, promotions and layoffs. If you feel like you are being treated differently due to your pregnancy, you might be experiencing pregnancy discrimination.

Gender Discrimination

Another very common workplace discrimination is gender discrimination. This occurs when you are being treated differently because of your gender. Signs include: not getting paid as much as a coworker who is of a different gender, constantly losing promotions to coworkers of another gender or being assigned tougher assignments.

If you feel like you are a victim of workplace discrimination, it is important to speak with an employment attorney as soon as possible. They can help you fight to get the justice you deserve.

Hernandez Law Firm

The legal team at Hernandez Law Firm understands employment law and can provide the advice you need to fully understand your rights. Employment law issues are timely matters and may need attention immediately. It is best to get the legal advice you need as quickly as possible.

The Different Forms of Harassment in the Workplace

The Different Forms of Harassment in the Workplace

Unfortunately, harassment in the workplace is not an uncommon situation. While companies are taking steps to improve the situation, there is still a chance that you have been or could be a victim of some sort of harassment. While there are varying types and levels of harassment, many victims have similar reactions and stories.

Any form of harassment has the potential to make a victim feel fearful, uncomfortable while working, or embarrassed. Employees may choose to stay in a work environment where they face sexual harassment because of limited career options, financial reasons, or the perpetrator may even be promising fantastic career advancement opportunities.

Defining the Perpetrator

If you are experiencing harassment in the workplace, it is important to have an understanding of who is at the root of the issue. Sometimes a group of people decide to gang up against one individual, while other times the situation is more hidden and complex. Even a friendly relationship has the potential of crossing the line and becoming a volatile scenario.

Types of Harassment and Signs to Look Out For

Harassment can take on many forms and may involve religion, race, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, and appearance. One of the most common types is sexual harassment. It is important to note that while females make up the majority of sexual harassment victims, men are also known to encounter similar situations. Harassment can happen to anyone, regardless of social class or superiority at the job.

Harassment may include name-calling, offensive photos or videos, intimidation, threats, ridicule, insults, and much more. The effects of workplace harassment can be devastating. Many victims report feelings of isolation, anxiety, fearfulness, and even depression. An employee may be forced to quit their job if the appropriate plan of action is not put in place during the initial stages.

When Should Legal Action Be Pursued?

Before pursuing legal action, there are some steps you should take. Make sure that you have spoken with the perpetrator and asked them to stop. This will make it difficult for them to convince a judge that it was playful banter you both engaged in. Keep physical records of any evidence to show your attorney. It is also a good idea to file a formal complaint with the company.

Contact us if you feel that you may have a case regarding workplace harassment, we would love to help you.


Feature photo by Marc Mueller.

What Falls Under Wrongful Termination

Most employment is “at-will,” meaning the employer can fire their employee at any time. But there are some exceptions that can make a firing illegal, as well as other exceptions to at-will rule, that could potentially help you keep your job or even sue for wrongful termination. So what can be considered as wrongful termination? This article will help you identify whether your firing was legal.

Arizona employment laws

office-730681_640Arizona law makes it so that an employer can fire an employee at any time without any notice, although there are a few exceptions to this law:

  • If there is a written contract signed by both parties specifying a period of time for employment or restricts the termination of the employee
  • If the employer terminates the employee for discriminatory purposes

Employee discrimination

In Arizona and throughout the United States, discrimination is illegal. An employee cannot be terminated for a discriminatory purpose at any time. If you believe you’ve been fired because of your race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, or genetic information you may be able to take legal action on your employer. You can file a complaint of discrimination with a state or federal agency.

Other factors that fall under wrongful termination

There are other reasons that you may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit for:

  • Implied promises – another exception to the at-will rule is if your employer said or did something that implied an employment contract.
  • Breaches of good faith and fair dealing – if your employer acted unfairly you may be able to make a wrongful termination claim.
  • Violations of public policy – It is illegal to fire someone for reasons that society recognizes are illegal grounds for termination.
  • Retaliation – Employers cannot fire employees for engaging in certain legal activities.
  • Fraud – Fraud occurs when employer’s actions become so extreme that terminating their employee is devious and wrong.
  • Defamation – A defamation lawsuit protects a person’s reputation and good standing in the community.
  • Whistle-blowing violations – This protects employees from being terminated for reporting unlawful activities.

Have I Been a Victim of Employer Discrimination?

Employer discrimination is characterized as prejudice of an existing or potential employee based on certain characteristics, most commonly including:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion
  • Political views
  • Nationality
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Financial status

Although the principle of these laws might seem fairly straight forward, it’s often difficult to tell whether you have been a victim of employer discrimination yourself. However, a better understanding of the employment laws AZ observes can provide some clarity on the situation.

Identifying Discriminating Behavior from Employers

Photo by qimono.

Discrimination can happen in potentially any professional setting, making it hard to identify. Most commonly it has been cited in situations of hiring/firing, compensation hearings, use of company property or facilities and additional fringe benefits.

Arizona employment discrimination laws are in place to ensure an equal playing field for all working professionals. If you believe any of the characteristics listed above factored into an employer’s decision to hire/fire you or withhold opportunities to earn higher pay, you potentially have the basis of a claim.

It’s equally important to understand what behavior does not classify as employment discrimination. If an employer has a legitimate reason to terminate your position based on poor job performance or the company is experiencing widespread layoffs, you may not have a valid claim to justify legal compensation.

Ultimately, the best way to determine whether your employment discrimination claim holds weight is by speaking with a licensed professional — experienced attorneys who specialize in such cases. Consulting with an attorney allows you to explore the legal options available to you and plan a course of action.

Their legal counsel can also prevent you from putting together a frivolous lawsuit that might not hold up in court.

Filing a claim is much easier with the help of an experienced attorney. Relying on their assistance, you can expedite the process and move quicker with your legal proceeding. You can avoid hiccups like paperwork and filings that would otherwise hinder you from executing the motion in a timely matter.

Do you believe you’ve been the victim of employment discrimination? Should you ever find yourself in an unthinkable situation in your professional career, don’t hesitate to take legal action — contact us to assess your claim.