Most people are aware that laws exist to protect employees from harassment and discrimination. However, many people are unaware that these laws also protect employees from retaliation.

Employers cannot fire employees for filing complaints about discrimination or harassment at work. Other adverse employment actions, such as being denied a raise or a promotion, missing out on opportunities for training or mentoring, or even being denied a transfer to a more desirable position, could also be used as a retaliatory tactic.

So, here's a quick guide on retaliation in the workplace, as experienced by our prescreened Los Angeles Employment Lawyers.

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What Does California Workplace Retaliation Mean?

Retaliation occurs when a California employer punishes or penalizes a worker for engaging in legally permitted conduct. Any adverse work action, including a demotion, dismissal, pay cut, or change in position or shift, may be construed as retaliation. But retaliation can also take a more subtle form.

If the employer's adverse action would discourage a reasonable person in the same situation from filing a complaint, it constitutes unlawful retaliation. When this happens, you should contact a prescreened Los Angeles Employment Lawyer to help you with a labor law claim.

Retaliation In The Workplace Is Illegal

Federal law protects employees from retaliation when they report workplace harassment or discrimination, either internally or to a third party like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). That stays valid even if the claim is unfounded, provided it was made in good faith.

The statute also protects employees who cooperate with EEOC investigations or testify in EEOC litigation or investigations. In addition, a recent Supreme Court ruling states that an employee's involvement as a witness in an internal probe is likewise protected.

Other protected actions, like when "whistleblowers" disclose unsafe working conditions or individuals who take FMLA leave, are also covered by various federal statutes.

The dismissal of employees in retaliation for other infractions, such as filing a workers' compensation claim, is also prohibited by various state statutes.

If you're unsure whether you have a valid employment law claim in California, contact a prescreened Los Angeles Employment Lawyer ASAP.

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How Do You Know If Your Boss Is Retaliating Against You?

If your employer hands down an adverse employment action as a form of punishment for doing a protected activity, you have a retaliation claim. These protected activities can include the following:

  • Reporting harassment to HR, a manager, or a boss
  • Reporting your employer to the DFEH or EEOC
  • Reporting your boss to OSHA
  • Taking time off work to serve the jury, vote, or serve the military
  • Filing an FMLA leave
  • Taking a legal meal and rest break (unless waived)
  • Refusing to violate the law on the orders of your employer or your work superiors

For example, if your boss demotes you or gives you a pay cut because you filed a report, then it can be considered harassment.

That said, not all retaliatory behavior is apparent or undeniably suggestive of a threat to your career. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if your employer is being unfair. In addition, some retaliatory actions, like excluding an employee or giving them difficult work deliberately, can be contentious grounds.

Have a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer assess your case, so you know your next best legal moves.

What To Do If You're Suspecting Workplace Retaliation In California

If you think your company is retaliating against you, talk to your supervisor or a human resources representative about the reasons behind these adverse measures first. It's okay to ask specific questions.

Your employer may try to justify your dismissal in other ways, such as being demoted because of a string of poor performances or being moved to the day shift owing to a position opening.

If your employer cannot give you a reason, express your concern that you are being penalized. Although your business will probably contest this, it's conceivable for them to act negatively without your knowledge. It would help if you pointed out that the adverse action only occurred because of your complaint and urged that it cease immediately.

If the company refuses to admit its error or make the required remedies, you should take your complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the fair employment commission in your state.

That said, you don't want to go up against an employer alone. It would be best if you had a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer to counsel you on the best ways to approach your case and can help you find more evidence.

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