What is retaliation and how do I know when if employer has retaliated against me?

Potential clients call our offices telling us that their employer is retaliating against him or her. Most of the time, potential clients have no idea what retaliation means or what it entails. Retaliation occurs when an employer takes some sort of adverse action against an employee, such as termination, demotion, a cut in pay or hours, because the employee has refused to take part in, reported, or opposed a forbidden or illegal practice under California law. So what is considered a forbidden or illegal practice under California law?

  • California Law makes it illegal for an employer to take adverse action against an employee for opposing discrimination based on religion, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, medical condition, disability, political activity, race, national original, ethnicity, marital status, age, veteran status, and whistleblowing.
  • If a health care worker complains about patient safety and is thereafter fired because of the complaint, he or she may have a retaliation case.
  • California Labor Code § 1102.5 states that an employer may not retaliate against an employee for disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal law, rule, or regulation.
  • California Labor Code § 1102.5 also states that an employer may not retaliate against an employee for refusing to participate in an activity that would result in a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation or noncompliance with a state or federal rule or regulation.

This list is not exhaustive, but an example of some of the reasons an employer cannot use to take adverse action against an employee. If you feel that your employer has retaliated against you for opposing something unlawful under California law, then contact our firm immediately.