California has many laws that exist to protect the rights of employees, and to safeguard them against discrimination and harassment. Nevertheless, employees may sometimes face retaliatory actions for engaging in legally-protected activities. Employees who are punished or targeted by their employers, for actions that are upheld by the law, are encouraged to speak with a workplace retaliation lawyer and to learn more about the avenues available to them.
Dhillon Law Group maintains a robust workplace retaliation practice. We have earned national media attention for defending the rights of whistleblowers and other targeted groups within major companies. We are known for our aggressive defense of each client, and invite you to learn more about our expertise as whistleblower retaliation lawyers, as well as our other areas of law practice.
What is Workplace Retaliation?
Labor codes defend the rights of workers to speak out against discrimination, to participate in workplace investigations, and to “blow the whistle” on illegal activity—without the fear of being terminated or otherwise mistreated by the employer. Even so, it is not uncommon for employers to attempt to punish employees who engage in these legally sanctioned activities—by skipping them over for promotions, transferring them to undesirable locations, excluding them from workplace training and mentoring opportunities, and beyond.
Such actions fall under the legal heading of workplace retaliation, instances of which range from the overt to the subtle. The rule of thumb is that if the employer’s negative action would deter a reasonable person in the situation from speaking out or lodging a complaint, there is legal grounds to view it as retaliation.
What activities are protected by the law?
According to federal law, employees have the legal right to complain, either internally or to an outside body such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other federal agencies; these complaints may regard harassment or discrimination without the workplace. These legal rights are upheld even if the concerns about unlawful conduct turn out to be untrue, so long as the complaints were made in good faith.
Additionally, federal laws protect employees who cooperate in investigations or serve as witnesses in litigation—even litigation against the employer.
The law also safeguards the act of “whistleblowing”—speaking out against an unsafe work environment, illegal activity, or the suppression of worker rights.
In addition to these federal protections, there are many state laws that further clarify or expand workers’ rights, such as the right to file a worker’s compensation claim without fear of retaliation. When it comes to retaliation at work, California has a number of laws that defend the rights of employees. (There are also numerous California whistleblower laws.)
Whistleblowing and Retaliation Claims: What’s the Difference?
Whistleblowing and retaliation claims are often discussed interchangeably, and there can be some overlap.
However, they are not synonymous. Whistleblowing typically involves claims or complaints that focus on activities prohibited by law and/or activities that compromise public safety. A workplace retaliation claim may have more to do with individual employee rights—the right to be paid overtime, the right to speak up against harassment, etc.
Types of California Retaliation Claims
When it comes to retaliation at work, California law recognizes several different types of claim. An employment law attorney from Dhillon Law Group can advise on any of the following claim types:
- Discrimination claim retaliation
- Union and concerted activity retaliation
- Political activity retaliation
- Public employees and First Amendment rights retaliation
- Workers’ comp retaliation
- Wage and hour retaliation
If you believe you have been the subject of retaliatory actions by your employer, we invite you to speak with an employment law attorney from Dhillon Law Group. Contact us today to discuss the details of your claim.
Signs of Unlawful Retaliatory Behavior
It is important to ensure that you have legal standing on which to bring a workplace retaliation case. This is something our attorneys can help you determine.
When you file a complaint about an employer, or participate in an investigation, your employer’s attitude and demeanor toward you may change—and if that change affects you adversely, it may be a sign of retaliation. If the employer behaves more professionally toward you, however, that is not grounds for a retaliation claim; simply being less friendly than before is not a sign of retaliatory behavior.
In other instances, cases of retaliatory behavior can be easier to detect. For example, if you ae abruptly fired, demoted, or transferred within days of making a complaint, that’s grounds for suspicion. Other examples of an adverse employment action may include exclusion from staff meetings, the boss suddenly choosing to micromanage you, an unfair or harsh performance review, and more.
Consult an Employment Lawyer
If you believe you are the subject of workplace retaliation, the first thing you should do is hire an employment law attorney or a whistleblower retaliation lawyer who can advise on your case.
Dhillon Law Group is proud to serve as one of the top retaliation firms in California. If you suffer retaliation at work, or if you are worried about what may happen to you if you come forward to report illegal conduct at work, our attorneys may be able to represent you in your case.
Dhillon’s attorneys are especially knowledgeable about retaliation cases. Our lawyers will quickly determine the true nature of the dispute and advise clients on the best path forward toward their desired legal outcome.
To learn more about the legal services offered by Dhillon Law Group, and about our representation in whistleblower cases in particular, we invite you to contact our team of attorneys today.
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