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I Was Penalized At Work After Reporting Harassment. Is This Retaliation In The Workplace?

Filing Retaliation Claims For Workplace Harassment In California

Workplace retaliation is when an employer penalizes an employee for partaking in legally protected activity.

Reporting your employer and co-workers for workplace harassment is a legally protected activity. Therefore, your boss or work superiors have no right to punish you for doing so.

Any adverse work action, such as a demotion, warning, dismissal, wage reduction, or job or shift change, cannot be used to punish, silence, or get back at an employee for exercising their employment rights.

Here's what you need to know from our prescreened California retaliation law attorneys:

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What Is Considered Work Harassment In California?

Workplace harassment, as defined by California employment law, pertains to unwanted and recurring physical and verbal harassment to the point of affecting an employee's ability to perform at work. This unwelcome employment environment is often called a hostile work environment.

What Leads to A Hostile Work Environment In California

There are several actions that a co-worker, manager, or employer could use to harass another employee or to foster a hostile work environment. This includes:

  1. Sexual harassment. It can be highly unsettling when a worker is the victim of sexual harassment. This is brought on by an employer, supervisor, or co-worker who makes the victim uncomfortable with their words or actions. Other than asking for sexual favors, sexual harassment might involve offensive language or displaying offensive images to the victim.

  2. Harassment that targets protected characteristics. It is unlawful to discriminate against someone because of their age, disability, religion, or any other protected trait. The offensive conduct doesn't need to be directed at the harassing victim. Examples include jokes, gestures, unwanted touching, leering, photos, and other offensive behavior.

  3. Ethnic, racial, or national origin harassment. One of the more prevalent types of harassment is that motivated by a person's race, ethnicity, or nationality. Using offensive language, ethnic slurs, or racial slurs can have a severe emotional or mental impact, undermining productivity and morale at work.

If you suspect harassment, contact a California employment law attorney right away.

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What Is Workplace Retaliation In California?

When workers report workplace harassment or discrimination, either internally or to a third party like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), they are protected by federal law from facing retaliation in California. That holds true so long as the report was made in good faith, even if it turns out to be unfounded.

The law protects employees who assist EEOC investigations or testify in EEOC litigation or investigations. In addition, according to a recent Supreme Court decision, an employee's participation as a witness in an internal investigation is also protected.

Other acts are also covered by various federal regulations, like "whistleblowers" who report unsafe working conditions or those who use FMLA leave.

So, if your employer or work superiors harass, demote, reduce your pay, etc., you might have grounds to file a retaliation claim in California. The best approach is to hire a prescreened California retaliation law attorney to advise, represent, and assist you.

What Should You Do If You Suspect Work Retaliation In California

First, discuss the causes of these adverse actions with your supervisor or a human resources representative if you believe your employer is retaliating against you.

Your employer may have a completely valid justification for your dismissal, such as that you were demoted due to a long history of performance issues. However, it would be best to draw attention to the fact that the adverse action only occurred due to your complaint.

You should take your complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the fair employment commission in your state if the employer is unwilling to acknowledge its wrongdoing or make the necessary corrections.

How To File A Retaliation Claim In California

You must establish a connection between the following:

  • Your complaint (or another action you believe precipitated the retaliation)

  • The employer's retaliatory measures (if you suspect retaliation and your employer refuses to address the issue)

The more proof you can provide to back up your allegation, the better. Your California work retaliation attorney can investigate the claim for you and help you collect evidence to strengthen your case.

Create a record of the purportedly retaliatory actions to achieve this. Additionally, retain a record of any earlier historical data before filing your complaint. For instance, if your supervisor criticizes your work performance after filing a complaint, be sure to find any emails or other records indicating your boss approved of your performance before the complaint.

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1000Attorneys is one of the very few lawyer referral agencies certified by the California State Bar. We only give referrals to prescreened California retaliation law attorneys, so you know you're getting referred to trusted, experienced, and fitting lawyers.

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