Retaliation, in the legal world, occurs when an employer illegal responds to an employee’s actions with a negative consequence. This consequence could range from loss of a bonus to termination of the employee’s position. Depending on the details, an employee may be able to hold the employer legally accountable for this wrongdoing through a lawsuit.
A case as an example: Retaliation is illegal
In this case, a nurse alleged she was the victim of discrimination and retaliation when she found herself under investigation by the hospital. The hospital allegedly initiated the investigation when the nurse “stuck up” for another nurse who was the victim of verbal abuse by a physician.
Ultimately, the jury ruled in favor of the nurse. The jury found the nurse’s case supported the allegations of retaliation, but not discrimination. Even so, the jury awarded the victim $28 million in damages. These funds were primarily in the form of punitive damages — meant to punish the employer and further discourage other employers from similar wrongdoing.
Application of the case: Lessons for other nurses in similar situations
Three lessons any nurse in a similar situation can learn from this case include:
- Patience. These cases do not generally result in a speedy resolution. This case was originally filed in 2014, and it is still not completed resolved. Although the initial verdict was in favor of the nurse, the hospital plans to appeal.
- Perseverance. It is important to believe in yourself, and the system.
- Payout. If the facts support your case, your perseverance could translate to a substantial financial reward.
It is important to take proactive steps if you are the victim of retaliation. Your actions could not only lead to a financial reward on your behalf, but also result in a better workplace for others in your field. An attorney experienced in issues unique to the nursing field can review your claim and provide guidance on how to build a successful case.