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.
What is Retaliation?
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.
Legal Action for Retaliation
If you believe you are being mistreated as the result of your response to discriminative 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 lawyer to show a clear connection between the alleged complaint and your employer’s retaliatory behavior.
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.