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Employee blames termination on retaliation for online review

The ability of disgruntled employees in California to vent online about their employers has raised legal questions about lawful and unlawful retaliation. A former employee of IXL Learning Inc. filed two complaints through the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging wrongful termination due to retaliation.

The employee, a transgender person who wrote a negative review about the company on the site Glassdoor.com. He claimed that he was fired because of the review, which stated that the company discriminates against people. Glassdoor.com enables companies to recruit employees and allows people to post reviews about different businesses. The NLRB administrative law judge dismissed the claim on the basis that it hurt IXL's ability to recruit. According to the judge, this differs from negative posts about an employer on social media sites like Facebook.

The EEOC, however, is continuing to assert that the employee was the victim of retaliation for lawful behavior. The lawyer for the EEOC has asserted that the employee's post on a public website represented a lawful act because a worker should not be restricted from making claims about discrimination in public venues.

Job loss due to retaliation is a leading type of claim at the EEOC, and someone who is experiencing discrimination in the workplace could consult a lawyer about his or her employee rights. An attorney could examine the evidence and offer a legal opinion on issues such as retaliation against a whistleblower, wrongful termination, denial of benefits or unpaid overtime. To file a lawsuit, a lawyer could organize evidence and calculate the victim's damages. An initial effort might be made to seek a settlement through direct communication with an employer. Otherwise, a lawyer could take the case to trial.

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