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Retaliation: Federal

Retaliation requirements by state

EEO - Retaliation requirements by state

Authors: Elizabeth Clarke, James Anelli and Michael Gardner


  • Title VII is the primary source of protection against retaliation, and it is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). See Governing Law.
  • Retaliation occurs when an employer, employment agency or labor organization takes an adverse action against an individual because he or she engaged in protected activity and there is a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action See Establishing a Retaliation Claim.
  • There are two types of protected activity - participation and opposition. See Protected Activity.
  • In order to prove a materially adverse action, an individual must show that the employer's action would have been materially adverse to a reasonable employee by potentially dissuading a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination. See Adverse Employment Action.
  • An individual must establish a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse action. See Causal Connection.
  • Employers can defend against a retaliation claim by showing that they would have taken the adverse employment action even if the employee had not participated in a protected activity. See Defending a Claim of Retaliation.
  • An employer may adopt many practices to manage and prevent retaliation including polices, training, support and follow up. See Managing and Preventing Retaliation.
  • An individual may recover various remedies in connection with a retaliation claim. See Remedies.