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What constitutes retaliatory discharge?

When employers in Florida take any kind of action against employees who filed complaints about their workers' rights, they may end up facing lawsuits that can cost their companies lots of money. It is not uncommon for retaliatory discharge or any other retaliation to lead to claims against company owners and supervisory staff members. Employees have the right to take legal action against businesses that do not have the proper procedures in place to prevent such action.  

Retaliation -- regardless of whether it leads to discharge -- is any adversarial measures taken by a company against a worker who filed a discrimination or harassment complaint. Such action can include the discharge of the worker or recording negative evaluations. Other actions can include demoting or disciplining the employee, reassignment or a reduction in pay.

In some cases, employers also retaliate against other workers who were questioned during the investigation that followed the initial complaint. It is also illegal to punish those who participated in the investigation and can exacerbate the legal liability. In some cases an employer may transfer a worker to a different work area after the filing of a complaint. If the employee sees that as a negative action, a retaliation claim may result.

Some Florida employees may hesitate to take action against their employers in cases of retaliatory discharge or such actions because they fear the loss of income or the costs of a lawsuit. There are attorneys who work on a contingency basis, meaning that they will only charge the client if they win the case. If a claim is successfully presented, the employer may even be ordered to carry the costs of the lawsuit.

Source: FindLaw, "Workplace Retaliation", Accessed on July 18, 2016

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