Retaliation in the Workplace

California offers employees many protections against employers from taking adverse actions against an employee for exercising their rights. Retaliation against an employee is unlawful and protected against by the state of California.

What is workplace retaliation?

Workplace retaliation is often times referred to when the company you work for or one of its leading employees, like a manager or supervisor, takes adverse action against you, the employee, because you may have filed a complaint about discrimination, harassment, or safety hazards in the workplace. Filing formal complaints regarding any of the above listed issues at work is recognized as a protected activity. There are other ways to be retaliated against by an employer, for example: taking medical leave, pregnancy leave, or requesting an accommodation for a disability. Workplace retaliation is more common than you may think, so if you feel you are in this situation, it is important to speak with an attorney to weigh your options.

What does workplace retaliation look like?

  • moving an employee to a different department or location of the business
  • reduction in hours of work performed
  • creating a work environment to make the employee feel unsafe or uncomfortable
  • giving negative performance reviews and write-ups
  • restricting an employee’s access to certain parts of the building or business-like meetings and events
  • preventing employee from receiving raises, bonuses or promotions
  • demoting or laying off an employee
  • terminating an employee

 Not all retaliation is as clear as the examples provided above. Many times, it is the behavior of a manager or supervisor on a regular basis that isn’t as blatant as the examples above, but it may still amount to retaliation. Examples of this would be:

  • Micromanaging the employee
  • false rumors being spread about the employee
  • clearly being avoided or mistreated like being left out of group activities, lunches, after-work gatherings, etc.

What to do to protect yourself from workplace retaliation.

The most important thing you can do for yourself is to have everything documented in writing. Make sure all communications between you and the employer are in writing so there is a trace of communication. Writing includes, but is not limited to:

  • emails
  • texts
  • social media messaging and posts
  • typed out or hand written complaints or discussions regarding an issue at work

It is also important to take photos or video when it permits. Another great way to protect yourself is having witnesses that can attest to the unlawful conduct at work. There are other ways to prove your case and protect yourself against being retaliated against at work, but these are just a few of the main and strongest ways to do that.

The most common laws broken resulting in retaliation lawsuits in California are:

  • California employment law, FEHA, prohibits employer retaliation against an employee and provides the employee certain protections against retaliation.
  • Labor Code section 230.8 – employers with 25 or more employees are prohibited from retaliating against an employee who is the parent of a child for taking off up to 40 hours a year, but no more than 8 hours per month, to participate in the child’s school activities, to locate or enroll the child in school or child care, or for school emergencies (no 8 hour restriction for school emergencies). For the purposes of this section, parent includes stepparent, foster parent, guardian, grandparent, or person who stands in the place of a parent for the child. 
  • Labor Code section 232 – prohibits an employer from discharging or retaliating against an employee for disclosing his or her wages. Employers also cannot require an employee to sign a waiver or other document denying the employee the right to disclose his or her wages or otherwise require that an employee refrain from disclosing his or her wages.
  • Labor Code section 232.5 – prohibits an employer from discharging or retaliating against an employee who discusses or discloses information about the employer’s working conditions. Employers also cannot require that an employee sign a waiver or other document denying the employee the right to discuss or disclose information about the employer’s working conditions or otherwise require that an employee refrain from disclosing information about the employer’s working conditions.
  • Labor Code section 244 – provides that reporting or threatening to report the suspected or actual immigration status of an employee, former employee, or prospective employee who has exercised a right under the Labor Code, Government Code, or Civil Code to any government agency constitutes an adverse action.
  • Labor Code section 246.5 – An employer cannot deny employees the right to use accrued sick days and is prohibited from otherwise retaliating against an employee who uses sick leave, attempts to use accrued sick leave, files a complaint regarding sick leave, alleges a violation of paid sick leave rights, cooperates in an investigation or prosecution regarding sick leave, or opposes a policy or practice that violates California sick leave law.
  • Labor Code section 1019 – makes it unlawful to engage in “unfair immigration-related practices” against any person for the purpose of retaliating against that person for exercising rights under the Labor Code or local ordinances related to employees.
  • Labor Code section 1102.5 – whistleblower retaliation protection in California prohibiting employers from taking adverse action against an employee for making known or complaining about unlawful business practices and/or refusing to engage in those unlawful business practices.

Do I Have a Retaliation Case?

To determine if you have a strong retaliation case, contact an employment lawyer and have them review your case. Ally Law Group offers you a free consultation to completely go over your case. This means that a member of our staff will sit with you, listen to your complete story of what happened and give you honest and truthful guidance on whether or not you have a shot at a successful case against your prior employer. Ally Law Group also offers a ZERO FEE GUARANTEE! This means you will not pay anything unless we win the case and this places all the risk on us. This puts the pressure on us to do the best we can to win your case!

Contact Ally Law Group Today! 

We believe we are the best employment law firm in Orange County because we care for our clients. Our clients are an extension of our family and we strive to protect and fight for every penny our clients deserve. If you feel like you may have a case against your former employer for retaliation, contact us today for a free consultation!

About Ally Law Group

Our Law Firm is driven by a diverse clientele that requires us to think outside of the box. Each case has different factual circumstances, so each case will be different. Our attorneys find it exciting to develop strategic plans with our clients, showing them that they do have a chance at achieving their goals no matter what type of case they have.

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