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Helping You Navigate Workplace Issues in California

California Employer Retaliation Lawyer

Our California employer retaliation lawyers understand that bringing a complaint for discrimination in the workplace is a scary prospect – especially if you are doing it alone. While it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for bringing a workplace complaint – in reality, it happens all too often. However, if you have made a complaint at work about discrimination (either against you or a coworker) and subsequently suffered adverse action as a result, you may have a potential claim for retaliation.

Defining Employer Retaliation

As recognized by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, retaliation, also called an “adverse reaction,” is prohibited against a covered individual when that individual engaged in a protected activity. An adverse reaction is not a snub, negative comment, or a petty slight. Examples of an unlawful adverse action, or retaliatory act, upon an employee are as follows:

  1. Employment retaliations, including termination, promotion denial or hire denial;
  2. Threats, unjustified negative employee evaluations, enhanced employer surveillance; and
  3. Other actions, such as assault, unfounded charges, and other measures that would likely thwart a reasonable individual from pursuing his or her rights.

Reporting Harassment or Discrimination

California, like most states, adheres to the at-will employment doctrine. This means that, generally, an employer can fire a person for any reason unless the employee’s actions fall under a protected activity. California also recognizes a public policy exception to the at-will doctrine, which means that an employer cannot discharge an employee for a reason that violates a fundamental principle of public policy. Reporting harassment or discrimination falls under this category. A number of state laws also contain anti-retaliation provisions regarding employment, which provide that an employee who files a complaint or testifies about certain acts cannot be fired in retaliation for reporting one of the following illegal activities:

  • Discrimination in the workplace;
  • The use of hazardous substances in the workplace;
  • A violation of employee occupational safety and health;
  • Violations of workers’ compensation rights; and
  • Violations of employee rights.

When an employee is fired for filing a claim of this nature, he or she is protected by both the public policy doctrine and California state law from retaliation by his or her employer.

If you believe that you have faced retaliation for engaging in a protected activity, or that you have been discriminated against, contact our California employer retaliation lawyers today. Our California lawyers at Scott • Wagner and Associates are prepared to assist you today.

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* Cathleen Scott is licensed to practice in Florida only.

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