It is no secret that businesses do not want to pay out more in liability damages than they have to. Larger firms have entire departments dedicated to reducing liability, which usually include human resources professionals and legal advisers/consultants. Orange County employment lawyers know this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – if the goal is reducing the discriminatory and unlawful actions that spark workplace litigation in the first place, such as discrimination or wrongful termination.
Unfortunately, far too many companies retaliate against employees for engaging in activities protected under federal and state law – such as filing a claim for Orange County workplace discrimination or sexual harassment or cooperating with outside investigators examining such claims.
Retaliation involves some type of unlawful adverse employment action carried out by an employer with the intent of punishing a lawful action by an employee (often one that hurts the company’s bottom line or reputation). The California Department of Industrial Relations has a specific unit dedicated to Retaliation Complaint Investigation.
Orange County, CA employment retaliation can take many forms, including:
- Termination, suspension, transfer (shift or job reassignment) or demotion
- Reduction in pay, salary hours
- Denial of mentoring/growth opportunities in the company
- Disciplinary actions or threats
- Unfair immigration-related practices
California workplace discrimination laws are spelled out in a wide range of California Labor Code, as noted by the state Department of Industrial Relations. These provisions protect everything from the right to refuse to work hours in excess of those outlined in Industrial Welfare Commission orders to unlawful use of E-Verify system used to identify immigrants with a right to work in the country legally.
Is it Really Workplace Retaliation?
Per California statute, retaliation by an employer occurs when in activities that are protected. In addition to the examples our Orange County employment attorneys mentioned above, these can also include:
- Reporting fraud
- Reporting illegal conduct
- Refusing to engage in illegal conduct
- Filing a claim for wage and hour violations
- Filing a claim for employment discrimination
- Filing a lawsuit for alleged wrongful/unlawful acts
In addition to California law, employees are protected by federal law too, such as when our employment attorneys assist claimants in filing complaints (or cooperate on investigations with) the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. From a legal standpoint, your employer is not lawfully permitted to take adverse employment action (i.e., punish you) for involvement in an EEOC investigation.
(There are also federal protections for those engaging in whistleblower activities, such as revealing working conditions that are unsafe.)
Retaliation can often be subtle, and employers have gotten deft at explaining it away/pinning it on other reasons. In order to be actionable, retaliation must have a negative impact on you/your career. Red flag indicators of employment retaliation noted by our Orange County employment attorneys can include:
Immediate termination after filing a complaint of harassment
- Sudden negative performance reviews, seemingly without cause
- Intense scrutiny/micromanagement after filing a workplace discrimination/harassment/wage complaint
- Exclusion of project meetings on which you had been working/sudden reassignment to less favorable duties/hours
- Sudden pileup of workload
If you suspect you are the victim of workplace retaliation, our Orange County employment law firm can help examine the viability of your employment retaliation claim and advise you on the best legal course of action.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
Retaliation Complaint Investigation Unit (RCI), California Department of Industrial Relations
More Blog Entries:
Airline Attendants Win $77M in California Wage and Hour Lawsuit, Jan. 29, 2019, Orange County California Employment Retaliation Lawyer Blog