Workplace retaliation is when an employer punishes their employee for participating in specific legally protected activities such as filing a harassment complaint. This is illegal under both California and federal law. If you have experienced this, you may be entitled to reimbursement for lost wages, rehiring, and compensation for emotional distress.

Recognizing the damage done by workplace retaliation, California has taken steps to make these claims easier to establish. If you were subjected to unlawful actions, you should speak to a Sacramento workplace retaliation lawyer from Erkel Law, P.C. who could thoroughly review your case and clearly explain your options.

Protected Activities and Retaliation

Both California and federal law identify specific protected activities that can form the basis of a workplace retaliation claim. Some of these include:

  • Making a formal or informal complaint about workplace harassment or discrimination
  • Participating in a harassment or discrimination investigation
  • Requesting accommodations for religion or disability
  • Reporting certain types of illegal activities
  • Resisting sexual advances from a superior
  • Discussing salaries

Your employer cannot take any adverse action against you because of protected activities. Examples of adverse actions include:

  • Increased scrutiny
  • Verbal or physical abuse
  • Poor performance review
  • Termination of employment
  • Demotion or transfer to a less desirable position

Anyone subjected to an adverse action by their employer after participating in a protected activity should speak to a workplace retaliation lawyer in Sacramento.

Establishing Workplace Retaliation

Generally, in retaliation cases the employee is required to present a prima facie case, which means they must establish the essential elements of their claim: 1) the employee participated in a protected activity, 2) the employer then took an action harmful to the employee, and 3) the two actions were connected. Then, the employer must provide a valid explanation of why the harmful action was taken, aside from retaliation. Finally, to win their case, an employee must prove the reason provided by the employer was phony.

To make workplace retaliation cases easier to bring, California has enacted a law simplifying the above process in some circumstances. When an employee engages in certain activities protected by the California Labor Code, and their employer takes an action harmful to them within 90 days, the prima facie case is presumed established. California Lab. Code §98.6(b)(1). So, the employee does not need to prove causation; rather, the employer must disprove causation by presenting a valid, non-retaliatory explanation. However, even with this simplification, the process is complex and highly fact-driven, so any suspected incident of workplace retaliation in Sacramento should be reviewed by an attorney from Erkel Law, P.C.

Steps to Take After Suspected Retaliation

Anyone who believes they are experiencing workplace retaliation should keep careful notes and records of the time, persons associated, and circumstances surrounding any relevant events. Sometimes harmful actions have valid explanations, and an employee can clear the matter up with their employer or human resources department. But if these results are unsatisfactory, or if this option is not possible, one should address the matter with a workplace retaliation lawyer in Sacramento. It is best not to wait, as certain time limitations apply.

The initial complaint should be filed with the appropriate state agency, which differs based on the type of retaliation. For retaliation based on reporting discrimination, an initial complaint is filed with the California Civil Rights Department. These complaints are automatically cross-filed with the corresponding federal agency. The state agency will then investigate, and it may bring its own lawsuit. If the state agency chooses not to pursue the matter, or otherwise consents, a lawsuit may be filed in civil court.

Trust in a Sacramento Workplace Retaliation Attorney

The rights of employees in the workplace are rendered meaningless if employers are allowed to punish their employees for exercising those rights. To feel under attack at your place of work is deeply upsetting and can threaten your sense of security. If you have been subjected to workplace retaliation, Erkel Law, P.C. could get you the remedy you deserve. Call today for an initial consultation.

Get In Touch With Steve

Get In Touch Arrow

Get Started On Your Case Today