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How Do You Know You Have A Retaliation Claim In California?

Updated: Nov 21

Spotting The Signs Of Workplace Retaliation In California


In the workplace, retaliation occurs when an employee acts in "protected activities," and the employer responds with one or more adverse employment measures.


When an employer takes adverse action against an employee, it is not always unlawful retaliation. However, to qualify as a form of retaliation, the employer must have taken the adverse employment action because of the protected activity.


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What Are Protected Activities?


Protected activities come in a variety of shapes and sizes. According to the legislation, employees should be able to engage in these activities without fear of retaliation from their employers.


This may include the following:

  • Reporting your employer to OSHA

  • Filing an employment claim

  • Reporting your employer to FEHA and other organizations

  • Refusing to break the law

  • Filing an HR complaint against coworkers

  • Taking a medical leave

  • Asking to accommodate your disability or religion

If you've been on the receiving end of unlawful retaliation, consult with a prescreened California Employment Attorney immediately.


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Objecting Or Refusing To Partake In Illegal Activity

When an employee has a reasonable suspicion that their employer is engaging in illegal activity and reports it to those in charge, the employee is normally engaging in protected activity.

For example, if an employee reports that health and safety laws are being broken to human resources, that report is considered a protected activity.

If you've been fired, demoted, or have been handed an adverse employment action for simply abiding by the law, then you might have the grounds for a retaliation claim in California. Consult Los Angeles Employment Lawyer when this happens.

Taking Part In Certain Proceedings

Employers are legally not allowed to retaliate against employees who assist other employees in internal or legal matters.

For example, it would be considered illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who testified against their boss. Another example is that an employee called to serve the jury cannot be fired for missing work.

Becoming Whistleblower

Retaliation against a worker or an employee for reporting violations of federal, state, or municipal laws, rules, or regulations is illegal under California Labor Code section 1102.5.


A government or law enforcement agency, a person responsible for the employee, or another employee with authority to investigate, find, or correct the infraction or non-compliance must be notified.

This statute applies whether or not sharing the information is part of the employee's job obligations.


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Receiving Adverse Employment Actions

Managers are rarely willing to confess that they took adverse employment action against an employee because the individual engaged in protected activity.


In most cases, the employee must demonstrate that the adverse employment action occurred after or at the same time as the protected activity.


Termination, demotion, denial of promotion, wage reduction, schedule change, harassment, hostile work environment, isolation, and defamation are all examples of adverse employment actions.

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