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What should New York workers know about employer retaliation?

New Yorkers are passionate about many things, including their sports teams and their civil rights, especially when these rights are violated in the workplace. It is not uncommon for a New York worker to voice concern when an employer is doing something that tramples on employee labor rights, such as filing a complaint against the violations. However, even if the problem is sorted out, some employers do not appreciate being forced to comply and in return subject their workers to retaliation. Workers should know their options if or when this kind of situation arises.

What is retaliation? Retaliation refers to an unfavorable action visited on an employee after that employee complains about labor violations or an illegal activity done by the employer. Retaliation can manifest in several ways, such as cutting work hours, reassigning the employee to a less desirable location, demoting or firing the employee, withdrawing benefits and assigning unnecessarily difficult workloads. Unwarranted pay cuts or failure to give a customary pay raise are also forms of retaliation.

What can New York employees do if they believe they are a victim of employer retaliation? Employees subjected to retaliation may want to get more information in order to help determine if the situation can indeed be considered retaliation, and if confirmed and rights have been violated workers have the option to file a case against the employer to seek damages.

What are the possible damages a New York employee may receive if the worker wins the case? Awards are different for each case, but common outcomes include reinstatement if the employee was fired, restoration of benefits and privileges, payment for lost wages and other damages. A New York court may also require reimbursement of the employee's attorney's fees.

Source:, "Employers Cannot Retaliate Against You For Reporting Labor Law Violations," Accessed on Nov. 25, 2014

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