Retaliation is a common issue facing many California employees.
Both California and Federal law prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee if the employee engages in what is known as a “protected activity.” In the employment context, retaliation usually becomes a concern when an employee submits a complaint or reports workplace harassment,discrimination, wage disputes, or becomes a whistleblower for unlawful activity.
- For example, if an employee submits a complaint to their employer that their supervisor is subjecting them to hostile work environment sexual harassment, the employer cannot take “adverse” action against them because of the complaint. What qualifies as an adverse action can be very broad and can include not only a firing or demotion, but also things such as an undesirable job assignment. Complaints about harassment or discrimination need only be reasonable to allow for retaliation, and need not necessarily require the underlying complaint be proven true.
- As another example, if an employee submits what they reasonably believe to be a violation of state of federal law to a government agency or person of authority cannot be subject to retaliation. This is important so employers cannot prevent employees from disclosing what they believe to be reasonably perceived violations of local, state, and federal laws, rules, or regulations.