When an employer takes adverse action against an employee, the employee may disagree with the action taken, and even resent their employer. As a result, the employee may choose to file a retaliation claim against their employer, alleging that the employer’s actions were a direct result of the employee’s involvement in a protected activity (e.g. filing discrimination complaints, using FMLA leave, complaining of safety or wage and hour violations).
Employers facing a retaliation claim in Kentucky must refute the claims made by the employee by establishing that the adverse actions against the employee were taken for legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons.
Defending against retaliation
As an employer, you may use one or more defenses to establish that any adverse action taken against the employee (e.g. demotion, reprimands, termination) was legally permissible. You may defend against retaliation by:
- Establishing that your actions were in accordance with company policy (which may include provisions protecting employers from retaliation).
- Establishing that your actions were as a result of a legitimate business reason (e.g. poor work performance, misconduct, insubordination).
Evidence used to defend against retaliation
Documentation is an essential part of the defense against employment law claims. Generally, employers should keep a record of the following information, as it will likely be useful in their defense. Some of this information includes:
- Complaints filed by the employee regarding harassment, discrimination, or wages.
- Company policies and procedures
- Emails, texts, voicemails, and other communications between the employer and employee.
- Employee performance reviews and performance improvement plans
- Records of investigation involving the employee
- Warnings/reprimands given to employee
An employment law attorney in your area can help defend against retaliation claims brought by an employee and help protect your company’s reputation.