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Employment Law Attorney Serving Clients Facing Retaliation at California Workplaces

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under federal or California state law. More specifically, any employee who engages in what it known as “protected activity” cannot be fired, demoted, or treated unfairly at work as a result of his or her participation in protected activity. For example, if an employee files a discrimination claim against the employer, that employer is prohibited from retaliating against the employee. Similarly, if an employee acts as a whistleblower under state or federal law, any retaliation against the employee as a result of his or her participation in whistleblowing activities is unlawful.

There are numerous federal and state statutes that prohibit retaliation in the workplace. If you have been subject to retaliation at work, you should discuss your case with a California retaliation lawyer. An advocate at Wagner & Pelayes, LLP can answer any questions you have today.

What is Retaliation?

Retaliation can include almost any punishment of an employee as a result of that employee’s participation in a protected activity. Examples of retaliation, according to the U.S. Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (EEOC). might include but are not limited to the following:

  • Reprimanding an employee;
  • Giving an employee a lower performance evaluation;
  • Verbally abusing an employee;
  • Physically abusing an employee;
  • Transferring the employee to a less desirable position or department;
  • Threatening the employee;
  • Reporting the employee to the authorities due to the employee’s immigration status (or something similar);
  • Increasing scrutiny of the employee;
  • Spreading false rumors about the employee;
  • Treating the employee’s family member(s) negatively; and/or
  • Making work more difficult for the employee.

Examples of “Protected Activity” for Employees

If you file a federal retaliation claim, in most cases you will go through the EEOC. The EEOC emphasizes that employees are protected against retaliation whenever they engage in “protected activity,” and the EEOC provides some of the following examples of protected activity:

  • Filing or being a witness in a claim;
  • Communicating with an employer about harassment or discrimination;
  • Responding to questions about discrimination during an employer investigation;
  • Refusing to obey rules or orders in the workplace that violate the law;
  • Refusing to obey rules or orders in the workplace that would lead to discrimination;
  • Resisting sexual harassment or sexual advances;
  • Intervening on behalf of another person facing sexual harassment or sexual advances;
  • Requesting an accommodation for a disability;
  • Requesting an accommodation for a religious practice; and
  • Seeking information about workplace salaries to uncover information about wage discrimination.

Retaliation is Prohibited Under Federal Law

Numerous federal laws that protect employees also prohibit retaliation in the workplace, including but not limited to:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA);
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA);
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
  • False Claims Act (FCA); and
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

There may be additional federal laws that apply to your case, and you should speak with a California retaliation lawyer about your situation.

Retaliation is Prohibited Under California State Law

In addition to prohibiting retaliation against an employee for many of the same reasons that are prohibited under federal law, the California Labor Code also provides many additional protections against retaliation to employees in the state. For example, the California Labor Code prohibits retaliation when an employee does any of the following:

  • Asserts constitutional rights;
  • Files a claim with the California Labor Commissioner;
  • Takes time off from work to serve on a jury;
  • Takes time off from work to testify in a judicial proceeding;
  • Takes time off from work to deal with the effects of domestic violence or sexual assault, or otherwise to ensure his or her own safety and health;
  • Takes time off from work to act as a volunteer emergency responder;
  • Takes time off from work to appear at a required meeting at his or her child’s school; and/or
  • Requests a lactation accommodation.

To be clear, California law prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who files a discrimination claim, acts as a whistleblower, requests a disability accommodation, or engages in other activities that are also protected under federal law. California law then has many additional protections against retaliation in the workplace, including those listed above.

There may be additional federal laws that apply to your case, and you should speak with a California retaliation lawyer about your situation.

Contact a Retaliation Lawyer in California

If you have faced retaliation in the workplace after engaging in a protected activity, you should discuss your case with a California retaliation attorney to learn more about filing a claim for compensation. Contact Wagner & Pelayes, LLP today to get started on your claim.

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