I will be speaking (and presenting on article) on recent developments in retaliation under federal and West Virginia employment law on either October 29 or 30, 2010 at the annual conference of the West Virginia Employment Lawyers Association. The conference will be at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia. The final schedule is not out yet, so I don’t know whether my speech with be on October 29 or 30.
Retaliation law in recent years has been one of those developing areas, and much more often than not the movement in the case law has been in the direction of expanding protections for employees against retaliation. The US Supreme Court especially has focused on retaliation law, and has “plugged gaps” in the law for federal employees to include protection for retaliation claims, has lowered the threshold for what is actionable retaliation, and has broadened the definition of “opposition” which entitles employees to protection.
One of the dangers for employers from retaliation claims is that, after an employee complains about alleged discrimination, the employer may be guilty of retaliation even if a jury decides there was no discrimination to support the employee’s original complaint. An employee may succeed in a retaliation claim as long as his complaint was made in good faith, even if the employee was wrong about the complaint of discrimination.