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THE LAW:  Virtually every federal employment law has an anti-retaliation provision—they would be toothless tigers without them. Employees who can’t prove outright discrimination often try the retaliation route.

The strategy is more popular than ever: The EEOC handled a record-high 33,613 retaliation complaints in 2009.

Proving retaliation has long been the gray area that courts wrestle with. As a result, employers must tread carefully when dealing with an employee who has exercised his or her rights under any federal law.

When evaluating retaliation claims, courts try to determine whether the employee is covered by the law. That includes women and minorities (covered by the Civil Rights Act), disabled individuals (the ADA), persons age 40 and older (the Age Discrimination in Employment Act), any employee covered by the FMLA and those who file grievances under the Fair Labor Standards Act or National Labor Relations Act...(register to read more)

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