Articles Tagged with employer retaliation

California employment retaliation occurs when employers unlawfully punish workers for engaging in lawful activities, such as filing a complaint for sexual harassment, cooperating with an OSHA investigation, or filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Oftentimes, employer retaliation involves the use of pretextual reasons to justify the adverse employment action. For example, the employer may indicate the adverse employment action is justified by an employee’s poor work performance, when in reality, the motivation was retaliation for “rocking the boat.”California employment retaliation

Many studies have established that workers in low-paying industries are especially prone to wage and hour violations, unsafe working conditions, and unlawful discrimination. They are also more likely to be retaliated against if they speak out.

Because retaliation is rarely blatant, it can be difficult to prove. As Los Angeles employment lawyers, we recognize the obstacles that wronged workers face in proving their retaliation claims. We also have the skill, experience, and resources to help them establish the truth in a court of law.

Targeting Workplace Inequalities By Tackling California Employment Retaliation

A recent report prepared by the National Employment Law Project examined the widespread problem of California employment retaliation, noted some of the reasons unlawful employment retaliation persists despite laws and accountability through litigation:

  • Power imbalances between workers and their employers.
  • Financial instability among workers, particularly those in lower-wage jobs – especially those who are immigrants. Threats of being reported to immigration authorities or simply the risk of bearing a substantial financial burden for speaking out keeps workers silent.
  • California’s system of “at-will” employment that allows employers to fire workers for almost any reason (or no reason at all) – so long as it’s not discriminatory or fall under some other categorization that’s prohibited (such as retaliation). It creates an environment of fear that undercuts workers’ ability to speak up about unlawful treatment, inequality, or unsafe employment practices.

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A finding of California employer retaliation has resulted in a $150 million verdict against an insurance company accused of firing a former executive for the firm as he prepared to testify in a discrimination case against them. It’s believed to be the largest verdict in Los Angeles County and the third-largest of its kind in the state. jury verdict California employment law

The Los Angeles jury issued the verdict in Rudnicki v. Farmers Insurance Exchange following less than 60 minutes of deliberations.

According to Reuters, the employment lawsuit was filed in 2017, with plaintiff alleging he was scapegoated amid allegations of gender pay disparities at the company.  He’d been employed by the firm nearly four decades, but was abruptly terminated just prior to a class action settlement, stemming from a lawsuit filed by female attorneys at the firm alleging a major gender discrimination gap in pay.

The former executive, who’d once served as the firm’s senior vice president, said the company had been concerned about what he might reveal about their gendered pay practices if he testified in that case. They reportedly blamed him for unlawful conduct and terminated him in an effort to discredit him. He alleged unlawful retaliation and wrongful termination in violation of California’s labor laws.

Lawyers for the defendant insurer insisted the plaintiff was fired because he:

  • Was making sexist, inappropriate comments to coworkers.
  • Failed to take appropriate action when female employees brought to light the underrepresentation of women in management at the firm.
  • Failed to properly handle/preserve pertinent legal documents, in accordance with company policy.

Jurors no doubt eyed critically the fact that the firing came almost immediately after he was deposed in the gender discrimination lawsuit, providing testimony that supported the plaintiffs’ allegations that the insurer’s pay practices were discriminatory against attorneys who were female. He was expected to testify to the same at trial. The case was later settled for $4 million.

Cooperating and assisting in a legal proceeding regarding discrimination is protected activity. Firing or retaliating against an employee for engaging in such proceedings is illegal, considered to be wrongful termination and retaliation. Continue Reading ›

Employer retaliation in violation of federal law (punishing of an employee for engaging in legally protected activity) can take many forms – demotion, discipline, salary reduction, a job or shift reassignment. Sometimes it’s more subtle than that. And then other times, it’s a driveway full of oily pennies. Los Angeles employment lawyer

An employer in Georgia is facing a federal lawsuit for workplace retaliation for doing just that. The U.S. Department of Labor alleges the incident began with a former employee complaining to its offices about not receiving his final paycheck – an act that violates federal law.

The incident made headlines when the girlfriend of the former auto repair shop employee posted a video on her Instagram of the oil-slicked, coppery mess in their driveway. In total, there were 91,500 pennies dumped in the driveway, the employee’s final paycheck sitting on top, addressed with a handwritten expletive.

The DOL filed its federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, alleging the act was employer retaliation for a complaint the former employee made to federal authorities in January 2021 to report he hadn’t received his final paycheck for $915. His last day worked had been in November 2020. The pennies were dumped on the former employee’s driveway in March 2021. Continue Reading ›

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