What You Need to Know About Workplace Retaliation in Georgia
Georgia protects employees from employer retaliation in the workplace. Here’s everything you need to know about Georgia workplace retaliation.
Georgia employers cannot fire or demote employees in retaliation for certain protected activities. If an employer retaliates against an employee, the employee can file a lawsuit against the employer.
In Georgia, what is workplace retaliation?
Georgia considers it workplace retaliation when an employer takes adverse action against an employee because of their protected behavior.
What does Georgia consider protected workplace behavior?
Georgia protects employees who stand up for their rights. Some examples of protected workplace behavior include:
- Requesting or receiving the minimum wage of $7.25
- Requesting or receiving 1.5 times overtime pay for working at least 40 hours in one workweek
- Filing a discrimination complaint with the EEOC
- Reporting an employer’s law violations such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the Clean Air Act (CAA)
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Cooperating with an EEOC investigation
An employer cannot retaliate if an employee engages in protected workplace behavior.
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In Georgia, what is the difference between workplace retaliation and workplace discrimination?
Both workplace retaliation and discrimination can involve an employer taking action against an employee.
Georgia considers it workplace discrimination when an employer takes action against you for being you. Chapter VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects Georgia employees from employment discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, and religion.
Georgia considers it workplace retaliation if an employer takes adverse action against an employee after they engage in a protected activity.
What is an example of workplace discrimination and retaliation in Georgia?
It is workplace discrimination if an employer demotes an employee for their religion. Georgia considers it workplace retaliation if the employer fires the employee for filing a discrimination complaint with the EEOC.
How can you make a workplace retaliation complaint in Georgia?
If your workplace retaliation complaint involves discrimination, you must first file a discrimination complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate the claim and determine if there is enough evidence for a lawsuit.
If the EEOC’s investigation supports a retaliation claim, an experienced Georgia lawyer can help you prepare a lawsuit.
How can Georgia employers defend themselves from a workplace retaliation claim?
Georgia employers have the right to take adverse action against employees for failing to do their job well or violating an employment contract. Georgia employers can protect themselves from lawsuits if they only take adverse action against employees for breaching a contract or failing to fulfill work duties.
Let’s imagine an employee is consistently rude to customers, resulting in negative reviews for their company. The same employee files a discrimination claim with the EEOC. If the employer subsequently fires the employee, they can claim it was for the employee’s poor performance instead of their EEOC complaint.
How can Georgia employees prove workplace retaliation?
It can be tricky to prove workplace discrimination. An employer will almost certainly point out all of an employee’s work mistakes and misbehavior. However, employees can still prove a retaliation claim with enough evidence.
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Proximity can be a deciding factor. If an employer mistreats or takes action against an employee right after the employee files a complaint, this is strong evidence for a retaliation claim. Even if there is a large gap, written or verbal statements from an employer can prove they fired an employee in retaliation.
In addition, an experienced employment lawyer can compare an employer’s treatment of other employees to their treatment of the plaintiff. If an employer does not take action against other employees with similar records, this could be evidence they are singling out an employee in retaliation.