Verdicts from various California Courts, as well as settlements that have been reached between employees and employers of all sizes, demonstrate the risk of retaliation liability and retaliation claims that can occur if an employee files a formal complaint about mistreatment.
Even when employers can prove that discrimination, harassment, or another type of employment claim doesn't arise to the level of being illegal, employers might still be found liable because the person who made the complaint suffered adverse employment consequences after speaking up.
Sample Retaliation Verdicts
According to a review of recent jury verdicts and settlements for workplace retaliation cases, employees who file claims in good faith, even if their claims end up being unfounded, are shielded from employer retaliation.
Some of the verdicts and settlements cited in the review include:
- A real estate firm was found guilty of firing a general manager at their California facility after she reported break and overtime violations. The jury verdict in this case was $4.6 million.
- A correctional officer who claimed they were discriminated against and harassed because of their sexual orientation and disability was awarded $800,000 plus attorney fees. Although the correctional officer also claimed the supervisors retaliated against her for complaining about their actions, the jury ultimately decided that the employer's actions didn't amount to unlawful harassment or discrimination. Despite this, the jury awarded the officer $800,000 for emotional distress related to the retaliation claim.
- Two sales employees who claimed they complained to their employer about wage and hour practices but were fired for speaking up, were awarded more than $800,000 by a jury verdict.
- An employee who complained about inappropriate behavior by a supervisor that was directed towards women, won a $1.6 million verdict. The employee complained that the supervisor coerced women to go to strip clubs and also so subjected others in the workplace to inappropriate sexual comments about female employees. After the employee complained to upper management, they were denied a promotion shortly thereafter and eventually fired.
While the sample verdicts and settlements above may not represent typical outcomes, only an experienced employment lawyer can appropriately evaluate your case.
Laws Protecting Employees From Retaliation
All employment laws prohibit employers from taking adverse employment action against employees for engaging in protected activity. Protected activity includes complaining about or opposing practices forbidden by the statutes and participating in investigations of prohibited conduct. Adverse employment action includes wrongful termination, failure to promote, punitive transfers, and other actions that have a material impact on the terms and conditions of employment.
Do You Need Help Filing a Retaliation Claim Against Your Employer?
The retaliation attorneys at Kingsley and Kingsley are committed to helping employees defend their rights and recover compensation for economic loss, punitive damages, and attorney's fees arising from illegal, harmful actions taken by employers. Our award-winning employment law firm has been fighting, and winning, for workers across the state of California since 1997.
Without a licensed legal professional's evaluation of your situation, you'll never really know whether or not your rights were violated. If you believe that your employer is retaliating against you for engaging in legally protected activity, then contact our firm immediately. Using an employment lawyer following retaliation is one of the best ways to help protect your rights and obtain compensation. We are here to stand in you corner and provide reliable counsel to help ensure that your legal rights and best interests are protected.
Give us a call at (818) 990-8300 today to speak with one of our friendly legal professionals about your situation. The consultation is free and you won't ever pay unless you hire us, and we win your case.