Retaliation in the Workplace
Many forms of unfair or otherwise illogical retaliation in the workplace are against the law. Common forms of unlawful retaliation at work are the following:
Retaliation Due to Complaining of Discrimination: If you feel discriminated against by your employer, you have a legal right to report that belief to company management, or the appropriate state and federal agencies, and/or the courts - without retaliation occurring. In other words, reporting discrimination is itself a protected act under the law.
If the employer retaliates against you for doing any of these things, it violates the law.
Retaliation Due to Requesting Recognition of One's Legal Rights:
Unlawful retaliation can also arise from an employee asking the employer for reasonable accommodation due to a disabling physical or emotional condition, a pregnancy, and/or a religious preference. If something bad happens to you in response to a request for accommodation, this result may itself be unlawful retaliation.
For retaliation in the situations listed above, a victim must seek enforcement of his/her rights through the appropriate state or federal agencies before filing a lawsuit. These agencies are: Kansas Human Rights Commission (Kansas workers), Missouri Human Rights Commission (Missouri workers), or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (any worker whose employer has more than 15 employees).
Retaliation Due to Filing a Worker's Compensation Claim, or being absent from work due to a work-related injury: This is another form of unlawful workplace retaliation. In Kansas, such forms of retaliation are governed by judge-made law, in other words, "common law." In Missouri, this type of retaliation is unlawful under the workers' compensation statutes. However, mistreatment of this type in either state is equally illegal.
Retaliation for Dealing with Illegal Conduct of Others: For similar reasons, under state law the act of informing management of illegal behavior by co-workers is an act protected from later retaliation. Informing a public agency of your employer's illegal conduct is protected, as is refusing an employer's request to take part in illegal conduct. Types of illegal conduct which are included in this category are misleading/defrauding customers, suppliers or government entities; theft of property; or violation of public health/safety laws.
For the final two types of unlawful retaliation listed immediately above, no requirement of an initial agency filing exists under the law. Instead, in these latter two instances one may proceed without interruption to pursue a court case over the unlawful retaliation.