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North Carolina's Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) (Originally posted by Sean Cecil May 4, 2015)
North Carolina's Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA)
Originally Posted by Sean Cecil May 4, 2015 (0 Comments)
The North Carolina Retaliatory Discrimination Act, commonly referred to as REDA, prohibits retaliation against workers exercising rights under a variety of laws. Originally passed in an early-90's wave of reform litigation spurred by the disastrousImperial Food Products fire, the law bans discimination against people who have exercised or threatened to exercise their rights under the state's Workers' Compensation Act, the Wage and Hour Act, OSHA, and the Mine Safety and Health Act. REDA also protects victims of domestic violence and certain other individuals from discriminatory retaliation.
The Imperial Food Products fire, on September 3, 1991 resulted in 25 workers killed and 55 injured, in large part because fire doors were locked to prevent theft. Survivors later claimed that they were nervous about the locked doors but did not complain because they feared retaliation. REDA was enacted to alleviate those fears, and hopefully help prevent another similar tragedy.
On paper, REDA is a powerful tool for justice, because it provides a prevailing complainant with reimbursement of attorney fees, as well as the potential for treble damages for willful violations. However, some bureaucratic roadblocks exist, including a 180-day claim period and mandatory exhaustion of administrative remedies prior to suit.
To prevail on a REDA claim, a worker has the burden to prove 1) That they exercised rights specifically protected under REDA; 2) they suffered adverse employment action; and 3) the adverse employment action was taken because of the exercise of the REDA-protected rights. To prove the adverse action was because of the exercised right, an aggrieved worker must establish that the protected conduct was a "substantial factor" in the decision.
The North Carolina Employment Discrimination Bureau is charged with investigating REDA retaliation claims, and must issue a "right to sue" letter prior to the worker filing suit. After the right to sue letter is issued, an aggrieved worker must file a REDA lawsuit within 90 days. In rare circumstances, the EDB itself might file a lawsuit to enforce a violation; more often the EDB will apply some pressure on the employer to settle a dispute where it finds a likelihood of retaliation. Available remedies include injunctive relief (a court order prohibiting future retaliation), reinstatement to the job (which may include back pay and benefits as well as seniority rights as if the worker had never been fired), and compensation for lost wages and other economic losses. If a jury finds the employer's discrimination to be "willful" the employer might be ordered to pay triple damages.
REDA can be a powerful deterrent for employers who might be tempted to punish workers for exercising their rights. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to prove that certain adverse employment actions are retaliatory; rarely will an employer admit to a violation, and proof can be evasive.
If you would like to speak to a lawyer about a possible retaliation claim, schedule an appointment with one of the experienced North Carolina employment attorneys at Edelstein & Payne by calling
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Felony Larceny by Removing Anti-Shoplifting DeviceOriginally Posted by Sean Cecil Feb 12, 2016 (0 Comments) As I am still fairly new to the North Carolina Bar and the practice of criminal defense here in NC, I was surprised to recently be in a consultation with an individual whose petty shoplifting allegation was charged as a felony because of the additional allegation that he had removed a security device. Shoplifting in North Carolina can be charged as a felony if the value of the goods stolen exceeds $1,000.00. It can also be a felony in some other circumstances, including if the person has four or more prior convictions for larceny.
Under North Carolina General Statute Sect. 14-72.11(2), a person is guilty of a Class H felony if the person commits larceny against a merchant "by removing, destroying, or deactivating a component of an antishoplifting or inventory control device to prevent the activation of any antishoplifting or inve…
Pro Publica and NPR publish scathing review of national workers' compensation "reform" Originally Posted by Sean Cecil March 4, 2015 (0 Comments) "Insult to Injury" is the apt title of Pro Public and National Public Radio's series which began today with"The Demolition of Worker's Comp." Today's report highlighted several harmful results of the so-called "reform" movement in state workers' compensation laws, pushed largely by business and insurance interests. The authors detailed the erosion of workers' rights over the last 30 years, state by state, and drew attention to the outrageous discrepancies between states- for instance, a toe lost on the job in California is worth only $6,000.00, while the same injury will result in $90,000.00 in compensation in next-door neighbor Oregon; the maximum compensation for loss of an eye is $27,280.00 in Alabama, but is $261,525.00 in Pennsylvania. In 37 States, inj…