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Retaliation occurs when an adverse employment action is taken against an employee for engaging in a protected activity. Retaliation may happen because you refused to take an illegal action on the job or blew the whistle on your employer. It could be a result of you reporting discrimination or harassment on the job. Retaliation sometimes happens because an employee participates in an official investigation or testifies on behalf of another employee. There are sometimes specific protections for government employees. For example, government employers are not allowed to retaliate against an employee for exercising their right to free speech. If you were subjected to retaliation by a public employer, you should consult the experienced Dallas employment lawyers at Rob Wiley, P.C.

Retaliation Against a Public Employee

Retaliation is one of the Prohibited Personnel Practices listed under 5 U.S.C. § 2303(b). If you are a government employee or a government job applicant, the employer is not supposed to threaten a personnel action or actually take or not take a personnel action with regard to any disclosure of information by you that you reasonably believe is proof of a violation of a regulation, rule, or law, or an abuse of authority, gross mismanagement, or a gross waste of funds, or a major, particular risk to public safety or health, as long as making the disclosure is not particularly prohibited by law and the information that you reveal is not specifically required by Executive Order to be kept in secrecy for national defense reasons or to conduct foreign affairs.

Similarly, you should not be mistreated because you make a disclosure to Special Counsel or the Inspector General of an agency or another employee who is designated by an agency head to get a disclosure of information that you reasonably believe is either proof of a violation of a regulation, rule, or law or proof of abuse of authority, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, or a specific, substantial danger to safety or public health. It is also unlawful for your employer to take or not take or threaten a personnel action against you because you exercised a grievance right, complaint, or appeal that the law afforded you with regard to addressing one of the foregoing violations.

You are also protected when testifying or otherwise helping someone else exercise their rights with regard to discrimination or with regard to cooperating with or disclosing information to an agency’s Inspector General or the Special Counsel in accordance with relevant legal provisions or for refusing to obey an order that would require you to violate the law.

It is possible to correct prohibited personnel practices in different ways. You may be able to have your matter heard by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and our attorneys can represent you before the MSPB. The MSPB can listen to and determine appeals from many decisions taken by federal agencies against their employees, including adverse actions, performance-based actions, and reductions in force, among others.

Filing a Charge for Retaliation

Retaliation claims are distinct from discrimination claims, and often they are easier to prove than discrimination is. Texas Labor Code Chapter 21, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guard against retaliation, and they apply to state and local governmental entities, regardless of how many employees they have.

Another avenue for relief from retaliation may be to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC has said that federal employees’ most common issue is retaliation. It is also the most common discrimination finding. Retaliation is the most often alleged ground for discrimination in the federal sector since 2008.

Consult an Experienced Dallas Attorney to Discuss a Retaliation Claim

If you are a government worker worried about retaliation, or if you have suffered from retaliation already, you should talk about your situation with a skillful attorney. The experienced employment lawyers at Rob Wiley, P.C. represent people in Dallas, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, Rockwall, and Ellis Counties. Call us at (214) 528-6500 or contact us via our online form.

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