Workplace discrimination is a serious issue in Mississippi that plagues productivity and makes a job feel like torture. So when it happens, employees are encouraged to speak up and report it. However, many people are often reluctant to fight for their rights because they fear retaliation from their employers. If you are a whistleblower or if you complain about certain acts, you should know that there are laws that protect you and others from employer retaliation.
Employer retaliation at a workplace
Retaliation constitutes actions meant to punish people that speak out against workplace discrimination or discourage others from doing the same. They include:
- Firing the employee
- Demoting an employee
- Withholding pay or benefits from an employee
- Giving an employee undesirable work assignments
- Making working conditions more difficult for an employee
Laws that protect you
The Mississippi Whistleblower Act, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 exist to protect employees from retaliation. The Mississippi Whistleblower Act was implemented to “prevent wrongful discharge of public employees who report unlawful or improper activity by their employer.” It covers all public employers and employees except those working in law enforcement, the judiciary system, or elected officials. The activity reported must be illegal under Mississippi law.
The NLRA guarantees the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively with their employers, and to engage in other protected concerted activity. Employees covered by the NLRA are protected from certain types of employer and union misconduct. You do not have to be part of Union to be protected under the NLRA.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee because he or she has made an internal complaint of discrimination, internal complaint of harassment based on discrimination, or filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Title VII protects against discrimination based on race, national origin, color, and sex. Included under sex discrimination are sexual harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender. There are other Acts which fall within EEOC’s jurisdiction to investigate complaints of discrimination. There is the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADA or ADAAA) which prohibit discrimination and retaliation based on age and disability.
How to file a complaint
If your employer has retaliated against you, you can file a complaint with the EEOC. We can help you with filing a charge and guide you through this process. You can do this by contacting us through our website or [email protected] You can file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC through its website, eeoc.gov, by visiting its offices, or by calling 800-669-4000. To assert a claim of retaliation against your employer, you will need documentation or evidence of the retaliation that has taken place.
In Mississippi, you must filed your Charge of Discrimination within 180 days of the last discrete act of discrimination or retaliatory action taking place. If you wait longer than this, your case might not be considered. In Tennessee, you have 300 days to file a Charge of Discrimination.