workplace retaliation

What Is Workplace Retaliation?

If there has been something you have witnessed or experienced in the workplace that runs afoul of the law, then you should be able to take the necessary steps to report such things and see that they are properly addressed. You should be able to do so without fear of adverse employment actions. That is why there are workplace retaliation protections in place. Here, we will go into more detail about what exactly constitutes workplace retaliation and an employee’s rights regarding addressing retaliatory actions.

Workplace Retaliation in California Workplaces

Essentially, workplace retaliation is said to have occurred when an employee is subject to an adverse employment action due to:

  • Reporting illegal activity to a government agency
  • Reporting illegal activity to a supervisor or other employees empowered to investigate claims which may lead to liability
  • Reporting harassment
  • Reporting discrimination
  • Reporting other illegal employment actions

For an employee to bring a successful lawsuit for retaliation, the employee must be able to show that he or she engaged in a protected activity. A protected activity generally means the employee filed a complaint or report about something prohibited by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). This can include something like filing a complaint about discrimination based on race or sex, among other things. Beyond this, courts have also proclaimed that an employee who brought a complaint in good faith and with a reasonable belief that the conduct was unlawful, may still be considered to have been engaging in protected activity even if the conduct turned out to not be explicitly prohibited under California FEHA laws. 

Furthermore, an employee in a workplace retaliation claim must be able to show that he or she suffered an adverse employment action. An adverse employment action may include:

  • Demotion
  • Termination
  • Discharge
  • Pay reduction
  • Other actions generally considered to be unlawful forms of retaliation

The employee must be able to show that the protected activity and the adverse employment action were related. If successful, the employee may be able to recover loss of wages and other economic damages sustained.

Preventing these types of claims from arising starts with both employers and employees understanding at least the basics surrounding FEHA and related employment laws. Several state-specific laws in California work to prevent retaliatory action in the workplace and protect whistleblowers from suffering adverse employment actions as a result.

Employment Law Attorneys

If you have suffered from workplace retaliation, you may be able to hold your employer accountable by bringing a retaliation claim under California law. Alternatively, you may be able to bring a wrongful termination claim if it is found to be a violation of public policy. The law is on your side and so is The Rankin Law Firm. You can depend on us to fight for your rights as an employee and work tirelessly to ensure your employer is held accountable for the harm you have suffered as a result of workplace retaliation. Contact us today.