So, you reported your coworker. For the third time, they approached you and made inappropriate comments about your race. The first time, you brushed it off, and the second, you asked them to stop. Now, you decided to report that behavior, because it’s not acceptable.
Another worker you trust told you not to challenge the status quo, which is something you couldn’t understand. Racism isn’t acceptable, and at the very least, you want someone to address the issue with that employee. Needless to say, when you found yourself fired the following day, you were shocked.
Can your employer fire you for reporting another person’s bad behavior?
No. If you’re fired for reporting racism on the job, or any other kind of wrongdoing, then your employer may be retaliating against you. Retaliation is not legal, and you may have a case against your employer for their actions.
If you go to human resources, your employer or supervisor might be upset that you didn’t go to them directly first, but that doesn’t mean that they can penalize you. It is a good idea to go over your employment handbook, though, to make sure you do file any complaint appropriately.
Thanks to the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, you have a right to work in a workplace that is safe and free of discrimination or harassment. If you report this behavior and are penalized, either by being terminated or in other ways, like being switched to a different shift or having your hours reduced, you may have a claim against your employer for retaliation.
Retaliation is illegal, because allowing it would make it so that employees wouldn’t feel comfortable reporting serious offenses on the job. It’s worth taking the time to talk to your attorney if you have reported racism or other discrimination on the job and were terminated or harmed in other ways as a result. Your employer needs to abide by federal and state laws, and if they do not, then they can be held responsible.
Your attorney will help you go over your case, collect evidence and pursue a claim if it’s appropriate.