Facts ABOUT retaliation
(relative to employment)
Generally, the law prohibits
retaliation against an individual who files a charge of
discrimination, opposes unlawful discrimination practices, or
participates in an employment discrimination proceeding.
It is prohibited by the same laws that prohibit discrimination
based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age and
disability, as well as pay differences between men and women performing
substantially the same job.
There are three main terms used to describe retaliation.
Retaliation occurs when an employer, employment agency, or labor
organization takes an adverse action against a
covered individual because he or she engaged in a
An adverse action
is one taken to attempt to keep someone from opposing a
discriminatory practice, or
from participating in employment discrimination proceedings.
Adverse actions may include termination, refusal to hire, denial
of promotion, threats, unjustified negative evaluations and references,
increased surveillance, and any other actions such as an assault or
unfounded civil or criminal charges that are likely to deter reasonable
people from pursuing their rights.
Adverse actions do not include petty slights and annoyances, such as
stray negative comments in an otherwise positive or neutral evaluation,
“snubbing” a colleague, or negative comments that are justified by an
employee’s poor work performance or history.
Also, it is illegal for a worker’s current employer to retaliate against
him/her for pursuing a discrimination charge against a former employer.
It must be noted, employees are not excused from continuing to perform
their jobs or follow their company’s legitimate workplace rules just
because they have filed a complaint or opposed illegal discrimination.
Generally, covered individuals are those who have opposed unlawful
practices, participated in proceedings, or requested accommodations
related to employment discrimination; and, individuals who have a close
association with someone who has engaged in such protected activity.
It must be noted that individuals who have brought attention to
violations of law other that employment discrimination are
NOT covered individuals for purposes of anti-discrimination
retaliation laws, i.e., “whistleblowers” who raise ethical, financial,
or other concerns unrelated to employment discrimination.
Opposition to a practice believed to be unlawful discrimination is
Opposition means informing an employer
of a reasonable, good-faith belief that the employer is engaging in
prohibited discrimination. The manner of the opposition must also be reasonable.
Some examples of protected opposition are complaining to anyone
about alleged discrimination against oneself or others; threatening to
file a complaint of discrimination; and, refusing to obey an order
reasonably believed to be discriminatory.
Unlawful acts or threats of violence are not protected activity.
Participation in an employment discrimination proceeding is protected
Participation means taking part in an
employment discrimination proceeding.
Some examples of protected participation are filing a complaint
of discrimination; cooperating with an internal investigation of a
complaint of discrimination; and, serving as a witness in an
investigation or litigation.
Requesting a reasonable accommodation based on religion or disability
may also be a protected activity.
For additional information and for assistance with sorting out your
potential workplace issues, please contact -
The Office of Human Relations
400 S. Orange Ave., 2nd Floor
Orlando, FL 32801
407.246.2122 (Main), 407.246.2308 (Fax)
The staff is very knowledgeable in dealing with these matters and they
provide quality customer service for all citizens.