Helping Employees In Westchester And Northern Counties Facing Political, Union And Whistleblower Retaliation
Under the law, employers are barred from treating employees differently, for example because of a protected characteristic under the law such as their gender, race, disability, or age, or from retaliating against them because they complain of discrimination due to one or more of these protected characteristics.
In addition, government employers who are “state actors” are prohibited from taking adverse action against or retaliating against employees for other reasons which are protected by the First Amendment such as:
While there are some exceptions, in general government employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees because of their involvement or affiliation in political activities. This could include campaigning for a particular candidate, being active in a political group or association, and even opposing politicians. If adverse action is taken against you as a result of your political affiliation, you may have a claim under the First Amendment.
Similarly, employees also have a First Amendment right to be free from adverse action for their union affiliation or activism. This could include serving in a leadership role in a labor union, serving as a health and safety officer for the union, or organizing workers for purposes of unionizing the workforce. Any employee who suffers retaliation for their union affiliation or activism may have a cause of action against their employer.
Free Speech: Whistleblowing
The First Amendment also prohibits a state actor/government employer from taking adverse action against an employee who expresses their opinions on matters of public concern. Employees who engage in whistleblowing activities, such as reporting fraud, criminal activity, or expressing concerns about health and safety, may have protections from retaliation for engaging in that form of speech. Sometimes the rights of employees are determined by the type of position they held and their job duties.
Other Civil Rights Claims
In addition to the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment can provide an employee with certain protections such a due process and equal protection. Due process may be required in the event that disciplinary action, up to and including termination, is taken against a tenured teacher, administrator or civil servant. The Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause can cover claims premised upon unequal treatment or discrimination against an employee who works for state or local governmental entities.
Hiring The Right Attorney To Help You
Due in large part to the volumes of court cases which interpret the reach of the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, employees need legal guidance in determining whether a cause of action under these provisions exist. Such claims should be evaluated by an experienced attorney with extensive knowledge in this area.
Guidance From Gould & Berg
At Gould & Berg, our lawyers have over 50 years of combined legal experience handling a wide range of workplace claims for employees.
We know the laws and we know the procedures. We will take the time to sit down with you, discuss your concerns and options available under the law for your specific circumstance.
Call 914-397-1050 today or email. Flexible appointments available.