Los Angeles Workplace Retaliation Lawyers - How to File a Retaliation Claim

Our Employment Retaliation Attorney Los Angeles Can Prove Your Case

Example of Retaliation

While you may be familiar with local, state, and federal laws regarding workplace discrimination and harassment, did you know there are also laws that protect employees from retaliation? In other words, employees have the legal right to pursue, investigate, and file lawsuits against their employer for negative employment actions, while being protected from further discrimination or negative action.

Unfortunately, workplace retaliation does exist; however, it is important to know that you are entitled to justice if you are a victim of retaliation in the workplace. At the Law Offices of Mann & Elias, our Los Angeles workplace retaliation lawyers understand the importance of protecting employees under all circumstances. We have successfully represented a great number of victims who have faced workplace retaliation and know what it takes to prove a successful case.

What is Retaliation in the Workplace?

Legally speaking, workplace retaliation occurs when an employer disciplines, punishes, or chastises an employee for engaging in a legally protected activity. This could include any number of negative job actions including firing, demoting, disciplining, reducing salary or payment, transferring or reassigning, or any number of other subtle actions. In California, employees are protected by California Labor Code section 1102.5 in subsections (a), (b), (c), and (d). The following are examples of workplace retaliation:

  • After learning about an employee filing a lawsuit for workplace discrimination, an employer asks the employee to take unpaid leave without valid reasoning.
  • An employer chooses to promote a new intern over a qualified employee because he has learned the employee is investigating the possibility of a workplace discrimination lawsuit.
  • An employer says hurtful things to an employee because he has been made aware that an employee has discussed the possibility of filing a lawsuit for discrimination.
  • An employer changes an employee’s job shift because he knows it will negatively affect their ability to show up to work.

How do You Know if it’s Retaliation?

It can be difficult to determine whether an employer is retaliating against you. As a guideline, only changes that have an adverse effect on your employment status are considered retaliatory. In order to know whether an action is retaliatory, you must show a link between your complaint and the employer’s behavior. 

Signs of Retaliation At Work

Documenting the sudden changes of your title, or responsibilities will ensure that you are able to lay the foundation for a strong case against your employer. Signs of retaliation at work vary, but three of the most common changes are: new tasks, demotions, and receiving demands regarding a specific project or work situation. Whether you are considering legal action, keep a record of phone calls, emails, letters, and in some cases - text messages. Performance reviews can also constitute retaliation. Drastic shifts between great evaluations and poor evaluations offer an explanation for why you are initiating an investigation into your employer.

Proving Retaliation in the Workplace

If you complain about discrimination or harassment that has occurred at work, you are legally protected from retaliation. If your employer demotes you or terminates your employment after your complaint, then you can file a lawsuit against them.

In the lawsuit, you will need to prove the following: 

  • That you engaged in protected activity
  • That your employer acted against you because of it
  • That there is a causal link between your complaint and their action against you

By contacting our team, we will be able to explain to you what you need to do to successfully prove retaliation in the workplace. Get help today.

How to Document Workplace Retaliation

Documenting workplace retaliation is essential to proving your case, which is why it’s important to do the following:

  • Record how you recorded the incident: Before anything else, you must notify your employer, whether it is a manager or HR (or anything relative to this). 
  • Prove that your boss was aware: Prove that your employer knew that you were a target of workplace retaliation. For example, if you reported it to HR, then this is a good way to show that you notified your employer of the unlawful act or participated in a protected activity. 
  • Keep a paper trail: Save evidence in a file and keep it somewhere safe. Make sure it is not kept on your work computer or in your workspace. This needs to be kept in a safe place.
  • Contact a workplace retaliation lawyer: Our team has successfully represented victims of workplace retaliation. It is in your best interest to seek help as soon as possible to preserve your rights. 

For more in-depth information, visit How to Document Workplace Retaliation.

Legal Action for Retaliation

If you believe you are being mistreated as the result of your response to discriminatory workplace practices, you have a legal right to pursue further legal action. In order to build a successful case, it will be important for you and your employment attorney in Los Angeles to show a clear connection between the alleged complaint and your employer’s retaliatory behavior. You can do so by documenting your encounters with workplace retaliation.

Is Constructive Discharge a Prohibited Act of Retaliation Under SOX

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) is a federal law that establishes a standard for companies, management and public accounting firms. It states that public companies must adhere to an ethics code that allows employees to report cases of fraud and ethical violations so it can be reviewed. In this circumstance, both the company and employee can be liable.

After an employee, or whistleblower has raised the alarms at a company and complains about something constructively an employer may retaliate. Though, SOX rules that it is illegal for an employer to fire the employee - and create grim or hostile working conditions that lead to resignation. This classifies as constructive discharge. Whistleblowing claims focus chiefly on things like:

  • Wasting tax dollars
  • Violating public trust
  • Damage to public safety
  • Holding the government accountable

Were You Retaliated Against After Whistleblowing?

Reporting suspicious or unethical occurrences at the job is also your duty as an employee. In return, you expect to be treated fairly - but may find that your employer retaliates by engaging in abusive or discriminatory behavior. Whistleblower laws, as previously mentioned, make it illegal for someone to fire you from bringing public attention to company actions. Mistreatment can come in a variety of ways. As a dedicated employee, you shouldn’t have to fear reprisals:

  • Violation of wage and hour laws
  • Violation of leave laws
  • Violation of health and safety laws
  • Violation of worker’s compensation laws

Damages Recoverable After Employer Retaliation

If you were fired or resigned because your employer retaliated, you should consider pursuing legal representation for compensation. How much you will recover in a case like this depends on the amount of damages that caused as a result of the firing. In some cases, you can sue for punitive damages, which means that you have the ability to punish the employer directly. It may discourage actions like this from happening again in the future against other employees. However you choose to legally reach an agreement, you should be repaid for lost benefits, like health insurance, and the emotional tolls caused.

Preventing Retaliation Claims By Employees

As an employer, manager or boss we recognize that you wear many hats for your role. To do your job effectively, you may depend on your employees to inform you of wrongdoings that happen in the workplace. If an employee, for example, submits a formal complaint when they have been a victim of wrongdoing it should be handled professionally. If not, your actions can be perceived as a form of retaliation. Retaliation is a broad term for mistreatment like harassment, discrimination, mistreatment or abuse of power. It is illegal for you to punish an employee for telling the truth about what they witnessed or experienced; it leaves a window for employers to get sued. What matters most is how you approach the situation, and handle the consequences of what occurred to prevent retaliation claims.

Your Rights After Workplace Retaliation

As an employee, you are protected by existing workplace laws. If you find that you are being retaliated against, a lawyer should evaluate your case before filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC takes lead on required investigations to ensure your rights are protected. From there, they will try to resolve your dispute with the employer. If it is not settled through the EEOC, you will be able to request a letter for right-to-do. 

Similarly, the Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other equal employment opportunity laws acknowledge the rights of employees to raise complaints to internal work authorities, state or federal authorities. As an employee, when faced with unfavorable treatment in the workplace it might hinder your productivity, even in your personal life. It is best to raise a complaint to prompt further action from the relevant authorities.

What Constitutes As A Toxic Work Environment?

A toxic work environment is one of the leading causes of employees leaving a job. This article provides a detailed list of the most contributing factors that add to unfavorable company culture. Poor communication, bad attitudes and dysfunctional reigns are three leading causes. However, read on for preventative measures to combat it, as well as how to navigate through a chaotic workplace.

Mann & Elias

Since 1998, Mann & Elias has served the people of Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Orange counties. We have completed nearly 100 jury and bench trials, recovered over $18 million for our clients, and successfully settled hundreds of cases. For more information on how we can help you take legal action for workplace retaliation, contact us today. We would be happy to provide you with a free initial consultation and case review.

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