Can I be retaliated against for filing a complaint?
I’m not going to lie to you and I’m not going to sugar coat it. Companies retaliate all the time. People don’t like it when you call them on the carpet for what they’re doing wrong. But, it’s just as illegal to retaliate against somebody as it is to discriminate against them or harass them in the first place.
It’s tough, because most people would rather have a bad job than a great lawsuit, because they’ve got to put food on their plates. That’s something you have to wrestle with is, “Am I going to blow the whistle on this? Am I going to call the company or my boss or whoever it is out by accusing them of being a racist?” That can be a tough thing. It can be an emotional thing. People don’t respond well to it. What I tell many of my clients is, the worst thing the employer can do to you is fire you. Once they’ve done that, they have exercised all the control and dominion they can over you. Then the ball gets put in your court to do something about it.
Frankly, it’s much stronger position to be in, to have a retaliation claim than just simply a discrimination claim. Again, you have your life and then you have your lawsuit, and I certainly am not telling anybody to tank their job just so they’ll have a retaliation claim. At some point, somebody has to stand up and say, “This is wrong and I don’t deserve to be treated this way. I deserve more respect and more dignity than to endure racial discrimination in this way,” particularly if it’s day to day harassment, where the harassment goes on day after day, week after week, that takes a tremendous toll on people in and of itself.
There’s a slight difference between discrimination and harassment. Harassment is much more pervasive, and sometimes I’ve had clients who wrestled with that decision about resigning or complaining and being retaliated against. At the end of the day, they were happy that they complained and that they got some justice at the end of the day by standing up for themselves. That’s a decision only you can make. I certainly have never talked anybody into filing a lawsuit, no matter how good their claim was, because it is a personal thing and it’s a very, very difficult thing to do. Sometimes, the company leaves you no choice. One thing I will urge you to do is, if you decide to do that, take some action and lets go get some justice.
*This is a transcript of the Facebook Live video from 7-26-18 Click here to watch the video.