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Various laws include anti-retaliation provisions. Anti-retaliation provisions make it illegal for an employer to punish or try to punish you for filing a lawsuit, filing a complaint with a governmental agency, participating in a lawsuit, cooperating with a government investigation of the employer, or making a formal or informal complaint of discrimination or illegal activity to your company. If you suffered from illegal retaliation in Texas, you should consult the Dallas retaliation lawyers at Rob Wiley, P.C.

Retaliation for Taking Leave

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees of covered companies to take 12 weeks of job-protected leave for certain enumerated reasons. Among those reasons are caring for a newborn and obtaining care for your own serious medical condition. During the leave, employer-provided insurance benefits must go on without interruption. Under the FMLA, you cannot be terminated for taking medical leave, and you should be put back in the same position or a substantially similar one when you go back to work from leave, without losing pay, benefits, hours, or key duties.

FMLA leave protects your job. You should not be subjected to retaliation for taking FMLA leave that you are entitled to. Retaliation would include any adverse action taken by an employer against an employee in connection with their taking FMLA leave. It could include actions taken to stop you from taking FMLA leave to which you are entitled. Or it may involve interference with your actual FMLA leave.

Leave may also be taken under other laws or your employment contract, and usually your employer will not be allowed to retaliate against you for taking other leave to which you are entitled, such as leave to which you are entitled under a contract.

Which Employment Actions Are Retaliatory?

Retaliatory employment actions are negative actions taken by an employer that affect the employer-employee relationship. They can include firing, failing to hire, demoting, failing to promote, refusing to provide promotion opportunities, taking away benefits, or taking away key duties. These actions may look different in different contexts. For example, you may have a retaliation claim if an employer terminates you because you asked for FMLA leave. If you take FMLA leave at one job, and then you are denied another job because you took FMLA leave at the prior job, this is also retaliation. Sometimes employers do not properly reinstate an employee who took FMLA leave. Your employer should not take away your key job tasks and assign them to someone else because you took leave to care for a newborn or deal with a postpartum medical condition. On the other hand, sometimes changes are made in the form of reasonable accommodations based on the employee’s health condition.

Other forms of retaliation may be more subtle. An employer may fail to give you an opportunity to pursue career development based on your FMLA leave. An employer retaliating against you for taking FMLA leave may physically relocate you or socially isolate you so that you cannot participate in meetings or outings. If you are uncertain about whether an action constitutes retaliation, you can ask our attorneys for advice.

Liability for Retaliation

In order to bring a retaliation claim, you need to be able to show that the adverse action that you believe was retaliatory was taken because you participated in a protected activity, such as asking for or taking FMLA leave. You would not be protected from retaliation based on a personality conflict or for criticizing a supervisor or engaging in misconduct. The employer must have known about the protected activity at the time of making the decision to terminate or otherwise retaliate against you. Usually, a causal connection can be inferred if an employee is terminated soon after engaging in a protected activity.

We may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for damages. Damages in a retaliation claim may include emotional distress, lost wages, liquidated or punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, interest, and costs.

Consult an Experienced Retaliation Attorney in Dallas

If you are concerned about retaliation for taking leave in Texas, you should talk to an employment lawyer about your situation. We 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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