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California and federal laws provide many protections to workers, from prohibiting discrimination and harassment to mandating overtime pay. These laws also provide protections to employees who speak up when their rights are violated or believe their rights are violated. It is unlawful in California for an employer to fire or otherwise punish an employee because he or she has complained about workplace rights to the employer or agency (“Whistleblower”), or engaged in a protected activity such as filing a complaint for discrimination or wage and hour violations to name a few. A Los Angeles retaliation attorney at our office may be able to help you assert your rights. We offer a free confidential initial telephone intake to prospective clients. We also accept cases on a contingency fee basis. If you believe you were unlawfully retaliated at work, call us now at (818) 237-5267 (Burbank) or (213) 986-8432 (Los Angeles) or (310) 295-1654 (Beverly Hills) or you can fill out our quick and easy online Case Evaluation Form; this is the fastest way to get your case screened by an attorney.What is Unlawful Retaliation?
California law makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for engaging in a protected act or for complaining about/disclosing or refusing to engage in unlawful activity.Employer May Not Retaliate Against Employee For Engaging In A Protected Activity
A protected act can be:
- Taking issue with the employer for an unlawful employer practice;
- Filing a complaint with a government agency about an unlawful employment or business practice; or
- Assisting with the investigation, trial, or other proceeding related to an unlawful employment practice; or
- Reporting a violation to a governmental agency (“Whistleblowing”).
A case for retaliation can arise when an employee complains about what an employee believes is an unlawful employment practice. This could be any number of things that California or federal laws prohibit: engaging in harassment or discrimination, allowing unsafe work conditions, or not paying employees overtime or not providing meal, or rest breaks, are just a few examples. It is something that an employer is prohibited by law from doing but did anyway, or something an employer is required by law to do but did not.
The final piece of a retaliation claim is the employer’s unlawful retaliatory action. An employer who takes any action that adversely affects employment — or potential employment — on the basis of an individual’s protected act has engaged in retaliation. Some examples of these adverse actions are:
- Discriminating against an employee with regard to the job’s conditions, terms, or benefits; or
- Firing an employee; or
- Not hiring a prospective employee; or
- Reducing an employee’s compensation or hours.
Therefore, an employer would not be allowed to lower the pay of an employee because he or she filed a complaint about sexual harassment. An employer would also violate the law if the employer fired an employee for testifying in a former co-worker’s lawsuit based on wrongful termination due to race.California and Federal Laws Prohibit Retaliation For Engaging in Protected Activity
California has some of the most powerful workers’ rights laws in the nation. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is one of the primary laws that prohibit retaliation in California. A worker is protected from retaliation for a protected act concerning against any of the rights contained FEHA, such as bans on discrimination and harassment. In addition to FEHA, federal laws also protect workers who engage in protected acts. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act ban retaliation at the federal level.Other Types of Unlawful Retaliation
A case for retaliation may involve an employee complaining about what an employee believes is an unlawful business practice. In California, an employer may not retaliate against an employee for:
- Disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency when the employee believes that the disclosure is one that discloses a violation of the law (i.e. Whistleblower protection); or
- Refusing to participate in an activity that may result in a violation of the law; or
- Exercising the employee’s right to disclose violations of the law or refusing to participate in an activity that may result in a violation of the law in any former employment.
There are several other California and federal laws that prohibit retaliation; therefore, if you are not sure whether or not your employer has retaliated against you, contact an employment attorney right away.What to Do If I Have Been Retaliated At Work?
It is generally a good idea for victim of retaliation to write down all incidents of retaliation to not only remember all incidents of retaliation but also to pin it back to the protected activity or disclosure of legal violation to have a stronger claim for unlawful retaliation.
Also, keep in mind that some retaliation claims have a short statute of limitations period, for example, a claim of retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment or discrimination can be as short as 180 days for federal claims and slightly longer for a California retaliation claim. Retaliation claims for engaging in protected activity require that an individual exhaust all administrative remedies which means an administrative charge must be filed on time with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) before it can be filed in court. A right to sue from these agencies should generally only be obtained if the individual already has a lawyer. If you are unsure of what to do, contact an experienced employment attorney immediately.
If you were the victim of retaliation for engaging in a protected activity, you may be able to recover back pay, emotional distress damages, cost of suit, prejudgment interest, and attorney fees.Contact Gallenberg PC- A Retaliation Attorney Serving Los Angeles County
Retaliation lawsuits can be complex because they involve analyzing several events and statutes. Gallenberg PC has experience helping California employees recover compensation resulting from unlawful workplace retaliation claims and protecting whistleblowers. A Los Angeles employment lawyer at our office may be able to take your case on a contingency fee basis! To be considered, you can call our new client intake line or you can fill out our quick and easy online Case Evaluation Form; this is the fastest way to get your case screened by an attorney. We do not charge prospective clients for a confidential telephone intake or online case review.
Submit your case for consideration now to a Los Angeles retaliation attorney; please dial (213) 986-8432 now. For Beverly Hills, please call (310) 295-1654. To submit your case for review to an employment lawyer in Burbank and surrounding San Fernando Valley, please call (818) 237-5267.