Retaliation by an employer taken against an employee who has engaged in legally-protected actions is prohibited by employment laws. These legally-protected actions can include filing a complaint related to some form of discrimination, harassment, or other violation of labor laws that the employee or job applicant has suffered. Retaliation against an employee can come in many forms, the most common of which may be wrongful termination. However, any form of retaliation or unwarranted punishment against an employee can lead to that individual's loss of financial stability, inability to advance in the workplace, emotional distress, reputational loss, and more, depending on the circumstances.
If you believe you have suffered retaliation by your employer, we strongly advise that you discuss the matter with a qualified attorney. At Kingsley & Kingsley Lawyers, our legal team of employment law attorneys are well-versed in both state and federal labor laws and bring decades of litigation practice to your claim or lawsuit. We can evaluate your case and advise you on how best to proceed. Should you retain our services, we can take action on your behalf to address unlawful retaliation and to help you pursue rightful compensation and the justice you deserve.
Retaliation in the Workplace
Retaliation consists of some type of adverse action taken against an employee. You may have made an employment law complaint against your employer, refused to participate in illegal or unethical work activities, acted as a whistleblower against your employer's illegal actions, or participated in an investigation or lawsuit based on employment law violations against your employer. If these actions were then followed by some type of retaliation, your employer may be held accountable.
Retaliatory actions taken against you can occur in many ways, including:
- You were fired
- You were demoted
- You were disciplined
- Your pay or hours were cut
- You were laid off
- You were transferred
- You were given a different shift or work duties
- Your benefits were reduced
- You were subject to hostility from your supervisor, management, or others
What Should You Do If You Have Suffered From Retaliation
If you have suffered retaliation, your first step should be to make the retaliatory actions known to your employer (unless you were terminated). Under the law, your employer is required to investigate claims of retaliation followed by taking swift and applicable remedial actions.
What If the Retaliation Continues?
If the retaliation continues, your next step is to file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency whose job is to investigate such complaints. This gives your employer additional time needed to correct the situation before facing a civil lawsuit. However, in many situations, should nothing change, it acts as merely a formality that is required before you can file such a suit.
The agencies you will commonly make your complaint to are the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The DFEH investigates retaliation based on discrimination as well as harassment in California workplaces. The EEOC is a federal agency that investigates retaliation based on civil rights law violations. If your complaint is based on retaliation against you because of whistleblower actions, your complaint may be filed with the California Office of the Labor Commissioner.
Can an Experienced Attorney Help?
If you have taken the necessary steps as listed above but they have not led to a satisfactory result, we advise that you seek legal help about the feasibility of filing a lawsuit. Both state and federal laws give you the right to sue your employer when your rights have been violated. These laws allow for the recovery of such losses as past wage loss, benefits loss, future wage loss, emotional distress, legal fees, and possibly punitive damages. Our Los Angeles retaliation attorneys have the qualifications and proven track record of results you need. Take the first step by contacting us to discuss your case.