Question: I was fired from my job. Prior to the firing I had asked the Director to investigate issues of abuse by the Managers towards the Latina and African American staff. I know that my firing was due to this. Do I have any recourse?
The issue you raise is whether the separation of your employment was for a lawful reason, such as poor performance, or whether it was unlawful retaliation. Generally, an employee may be lawfully terminated for poor performance. However, federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended) prohibits some acts by employers (who employ 15 or more employees) that are considered to be retaliatory.
Examples of conduct that have been considered by some courts as unlawful retaliation are the demotion, discipline or termination of an employee for complaining to the employer's management about possible illegal conduct in the workplace. Illegal conduct can take the form of racial, sexual or other types of unlawful discrimination.
The Arizona Employment Protection Act, A.R.S. § 23-1501(3)(c)(ii)), states that it is unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee in retaliation for: The disclosure by the employee in a reasonable manner that the employee has information or a reasonable belief that the employer, or an employee of the employer, has violated, is violating or will violate the Constitution of Arizona or the statutes of this state to either the employer or a representative of the employer who the employee reasonably believes is in a managerial or supervisory position and has the authority to investigate the information provided by the employee and to take action to prevent further violations of the Constitution of Arizona or statutes of this state or an employee of a public body or political subdivision of this state or any agency of a public body or political subdivision.
October 17, 2006