Every person reacts to things differently. While some may consider certain actions unharmful, others may find those acts uncomfortable and discriminatory. This is a situation you may find in a lot of workplaces. And those who have had enough usually take the appropriate courses of action, including filing a discrimination charge against their employers.
But let’s say you filed a discrimination claim, which turns out unsubstantiated. Afterward, your employer fired you because of the unmerited claim. Does this situation fall under retaliation? Can the law still protect you?
Good faith and reasonable belief
Given how differently each person perceives things, it is possible for an employee to honestly believe an employer’s act or practice is discriminatory, even if, generally, it’s not. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), an employer can violate the Human Rights Act’s prohibition against retaliation if they terminate or treat an employee unfavorably because of a discrimination claim, whether or not the claim is correct. However, it is important to establish that the employee made the claim in good faith and reasonable belief of the discrimination.
Retaliation comes in many forms
This situation is relatively unique and it is understandable for an employee to doubt whether the circumstances surrounding their case fall under the scope of retaliation. As an employee, you need to understand your rights and how to protect them. If you have doubts about your situation or the law, you may discuss it with an employment attorney who can guide you.