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Court upholds employee's claim of retaliation

When an employee in Pennsylvania files a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the employer has a legal obligation not to retaliate against the employee. A federal trial judge overseeing a case that involved a worker at a nuclear power station has agreed that the person suffered from retaliation after the employer informed other workers about the EEOC investigation.

The attorney for the company had informed 150 employees in writing about the investigators' request to contact other employees. She believed this action to be appropriate because she did not want to release contact information without the employees knowing about it. The company's letter included information about the employee who claimed that his medical condition prohibited him from working near radiation.

As a result of making this information widely known, the employee said that his union retaliated against him. Co-workers asked him about his medical problem, and he was taken off of certain jobs. The employer eventually terminated his job. His legal claim asserted that the employer had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing him and that the letter to other employees had been an act of retaliation after he complained to the EEOC.

The Americans with Disabilities Act establishes protections for people in the workplace. The law requires employers to make an effort to accommodate the needs of an employee with a disability. When a person experiences difficulty, discrimination or harassment after asking for reasonable adjustments to work duties, the services of an attorney might be needed to protect the person's rights. An attorney could organize evidence of the discrimination or retaliation for lawful requests and inform the employer of its legal obligations. In some cases, an attorney might file a lawsuit to pursue damages after wrongful termination, demotion or harassment.

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