New York employees should not be afraid to speak up when there are workplace issues. However, many employees will subtly or tacitly discourage employees from doing so with various threats - overt and implied - used to prevent it. Workers who are concerned about violations but do not know what protection for retaliation is available to shield them or who have already been retaliated against should know the facts about retaliation and how the state has legislated against it. A legal filing can be a way to be compensated after an employee was confronted with retaliation.
Employers are prohibited by law against discharging, penalizing, discriminating or retaliating against an employee who does any of the following: complains about labor law violations to the employer; complains to the Labor Department; gives information to the Labor Department; testifies in a proceeding; or exercises his or her rights under the law. If the employer is given an adverse decision from the Labor Department because of the employee, this cannot be the basis for retaliation.
If it is found that the employer has retaliated against an employee, there can be financial penalties against the employer, the employee could receive payment and there can be liquidated damages paid to the employee. The employee also has the right to file a civil case against the employer. From the time of the incident, there will be two years for the employee to file a case. Should the case be decided in the employee's favor, he or she could experience any of the following: be reinstated to a previous position; have seniority restored; be paid compensation that was lost; receive damages for up to $20,000 per employee; and be compensated for reasonable attorney costs.
Many employees might decide to remain silent even if they see wrongdoing at their workplace because they are concerned that they will be dismissed, face a denial of benefits, have their work hours cut, not get raises they are entitled to, face discipline and more. However, this should not dissuade a worker from speaking up if it is the right thing to do. Having legal help from a law firm that specializes in employment law for employees can provide protection for retaliation and avoid these acts from taking place or seek compensation if they do.