Retaliation & Whistleblowing
Serving Clients in Boston and Throughout Massachusetts
Illegal retaliation in the workplace consists of taking negative action against an employee as the result of the employee engaging in legally-protected behavior, such as termination, demotion, a failure to promote or almost any other type of negative consequence. The workplace behaviors that protect employees include:
- Filing a worker’s compensation claim
- Making a report or claim concerning illegal discrimination
- Making a claim regarding illegal or wrongful work practices, including grievances and unfair pay practices
- Filing a whistleblowing claim (sometimes referred to as a “qui tam” claim) alleging that an employer is defrauding the government
- Making claims regarding unsafe working conditions with government agencies
- Other matters protected under state and federal law.
While the laws protecting employees is complex, in general workers are protected against retaliation by their employer for engaging in these types of protected activities. If they are terminated by an employer, for example, after filing a worker’s compensation claim, they will have a claim for wrongful termination based upon illegal retaliation.
As Boston retaliation and whistleblowing lawyers, we serve clients throughout Massachusetts in seeking to protect their rights against illegal practices. Please call to learn more about your options if you are facing retaliation for whistleblowing.
How Long am I Protected Against Termination or Another Negative Consequence?
In general, the law does not provide an explicit time period to “protect” a worker from termination or another negative consequence after taking one of the protected actions noted above. Instead, the focus of the law is on preventing workers from retaliation by employers solely because of taking a legally-protected action.
Stated differently, a worker can still be fired or demoted after taking one of the legally-protected actions noted above. In the case of a termination or demotion, it ultimately would be up to a jury to determine whether the termination or demotion was the result of taking the protected action, or if there was some other cause. In such a circumstance, the employer would normally have a reason to engage in the adverse conduct; a jury would then assess whether the reason provided by the employer was a “valid” reason, or simply a “pre-text” reason (or not the main reason) that the action was taken.
How We Help
As Boston retaliation lawyers and Massachusetts attorneys, we see through the pre-text reasons often used by employers to justify illegal retaliation against workers. On behalf of our clients, we seek to hold employers liable to the fullest extent of the law, and to send a message that illegal retaliation will not be tolerated.