Updated: Aug 26
California Employment Laws Protect Employees Against Retaliation In The Workplace
There is a range of state and federal employment laws that help protect workers from workplace discrimination and harassment. What many Los Angeles employees may not be aware of is the fact that they are still protected from harassment under these rules.
This means that employers cannot discipline or penalize employees for filing discrimination or assault charges or engaging in disciplinary investigations. In such situations, "punishment" could entail several actions, such as being moved over for a promotion, taking a salary cut, denied a wage increase, denied training for a better position or facing Wrongful Termination under California Employment Law.
You must contact a pre-screened Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles who will be by your side, advocate for your rights and help ensure that your civil rights and best interests are secured if you feel that your company is retaliating against you for participating in constitutionally protected practices.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and California Employment Law, retaliation is the most commonly alleged basis of workplace discrimination. When you are involved in the following forms of legal practices, your company cannot terminate you or discriminate against you:
You have lodged a complaint with the EEOC or are a witness in a case.
You have been reporting workplace discrimination and/or abuse to your boss.
You addressed questions during an employment related lawsuit.
You declined to follow directions that would result in illegal activities.
You refused unwanted advances or spoke up against abuse to defend a colleague.
You requested for accommodation due to a disability or to follow a religious activity.
You asked managers or peers about salary details to uncover unequal pay.
It is necessary to remember that engaging in the complaint process is covered under all conditions from workplace harassment and California Employment Law Retaliation. Other actions that condemn discrimination in the workplace are protected as long as the worker acted on the belief that California labor laws were being violated. Participating in covered practices, however, does not inherently shield personnel from punishment or dismissal.
Employers should punish or even terminate workers if the adverse action is caused by non-retaliatory and non-discriminatory motives. However, our Employment Lawyers in Los Angeles also represented employees who experienced adverse action made against them for protesting or engaging in the complaint process where there has been discrimination or abuse in the workplace. Employers in California are not allowed to do anything when an employee is engaged in a legal activity that would prevent anyone from opposing or complaining about potential discrimination. If this is your case, you should immediately consult with one of our pre-screened Los Angeles Employment Lawyers.
Below are some examples of an employer's retaliatory behavior against an employee for engaging in protected activities:
Reprimanding the worker or providing an assessment of work success that is unjust or worse than it should be.
Transferring the worker to a less favorable job.
Reporting verbal or physical assault.
Threatening to notify immigration authorities or the police about an employee.
Without sufficient excuse, increasing criticism of an employee.
Spreading Employee Lies or Gossip.
Making the work of the employee more difficult by adjusting his or her schedule by moving him or her to a particular position that is hard to get to.
Moving the work responsibilities of the employee to something less attractive.
Imposing a cut in wages.
How to Prove California Employment Law Retaliation?
Employees who speak up to abuse or bullying are protected from wrongful termination. You can prove retaliation cases in California by documenting any illegal activity against you. A retaliation claim is used in over a third of the discrimination and wrongful termination complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the last five years.
Since it's heavily dependent of California discrimination laws, it's important that you and your Los Angeles Retaliation Attorney go over the important factors of proving your claims.
If an employee files a complaint alleging the employer's retaliation case in California, he or she will need to explain three elements:
1. You Participated in A Protected Activity.
Both federal statutes banning workers from discrimination against their workers also forbid retaliation under these labor laws against employees who participate in protected conduct. Therefore, when workers condemn any act that federal statutes such as segregation or coercion render unconstitutional, they are actually engaging in covered conduct.
The Supreme Court ruled that not only when workers complain specifically about abuse or prejudice, but also when they engage in an administrative investigation of such a complaint, such as as a witness, employees are shielded from retaliation cases in California.
Generally speaking, the minute an employee lets his or her boss know that the employee has participated in racist or harassing behavior, the employee is shielded from retribution. This entails cases where a worker is asked to discriminate but declines to do so.
Employees who file a complaint of discrimination or harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or any other state agency, engage in an investigation carried out by such an agency, or participate in a complaint of discrimination or harassment are also shielded by their employer from some sort of retaliation. In certain cases, under these rules, workers who engage in a company's own internal audit also deserve termination immunity.
2. When The Employer Has Taken Unfavorable Actions.
Any form of unfavorable or adverse action taken against an employee by an employer could constitute retaliation under federal and state laws, particularly if such action prevented an employee from making a complaint appropriately or from engaging in protected behavior.
Examples of the employer's negative or unfavorable behavior include wrongful termination in California, pay cuts, negative job assessments, demotion, displacement, a shift of work assignments or responsibilities (usually for the worse), or changes in other terms and conditions of employment.
3. The Retaliation Was Triggered By Your Participation in Protected Practices.
It is also not necessary for workers to merely establish that they participated in protected conduct and were exposed to an unfavorable job action in a workplace harassment situation. They will have to prove proof that there is a connection between the two cases.
In other words, workers must explain that the retaliation was triggered by their participation in the covered operation. For instance, if a female employee who protested sexual assault has her job terminated, not as part of layoffs or cost-cutting steps, but as an isolated action, because she would be able to show causation, she may have a good claim for retaliation or wrongful termination in California.
In most cases, demonstrating causal cause will be difficult whether an employer freely acknowledges it or issues a verbal or written threat. Employees usually must show evidence of retribution, such as the timing of the adverse action, in such situations. For starters, there is a clear argument for revenge if the adverse action comes in the aftermath of the employee protesting.
It should also be appropriate for an employee who alleges revenge to prove that the person who took the adverse action knew about the allegation or the covered conduct in which the employee was involved. Obviously, since the employer had no idea of the claim's covered conduct, it would be impossible to prove revenge.
In certain circumstances, an employee might also be able to establish that there was no other justification for the supervisor to take negative action. This is especially true if it doesn't add up or make sense to the justification the boss indicated for the negative behavior.
For example, if an employee engaging in covered conduct takes a pay cut due to bad results' but has received outstanding performance ratings in the past, the employee will be able to argue that there is no other cause or motive other than revenge for the negative behavior.