Unlawful retaliation cases are based upon a claim that an employer took an adverse action against an employee based upon protected activity. Most employment discrimination laws not only make it illegal to discriminate against protected groups, but also prohibit retaliation against an employee who asserts his or her rights under the law.
An employee may claim that he or she is being retaliated against for complaining of discrimination, filing a charge of discrimination, making complaints to management, protesting against discrimination in general, expressing support of co-workers who have filed charges of discrimination or harassment, or testifying or assisting in an investigation, proceeding or hearing. An employee need not establish that the conduct he or she opposed was in fact discriminatory; rather, he or she must only demonstrate a “good faith, reasonable belief” that the underlying conduct violated the law.
To establish a causal connection existed between the protected activity and the adverse employment action, the employee must show that the employer actually knew of the employee's protected activity at the time it took the adverse employment action. The closer the time between the employer’s knowledge and the employment action, the more likely a court will infer causation.
Missouri Retaliation Claims
Under Missouri law, Section 213.070.2 RSMo. states that it is unlawful to “retaliate or discriminate in any manner against any other person because such person has opposed any practice prohibited by this chapter or because such person has filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in any investigation, proceeding or hearing conducted pursuant to this chapter.” In Hill v. Ford Motor Company, the Missouri Supreme Court recently indicated that retaliation for opposing discrimination or for filing a complaint constitutes discrimination under the MHRA and, like other forms of discrimination, is proved by showing that a “contributing factor” in the employer's employment action was unlawful retaliation.
The Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley's Victory Before the Missouri Supreme Court
A Seminal Change in Missouri Employment Law
In 2007, the Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley argued for and established before the Missouri Supreme Court a changed employment discrimination standard under the Missouri Human Rights Act at the summary judgment stage in Daugherty vs. City of Maryland Heights. This standard for discrimination claims is unique to Missouri and Mr. Dolley has been the leader and innovator in Missouri in labor and employment law in the most recent years.
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