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Types of Workplace Retaliation in California

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Unlawful retaliation in the workplace can occur in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. California workers are protected from unlawful retaliation, whether that takes the form of termination, pay cuts, or other adverse employment actions. Retaliation is unlawful whenever it is enacted in response to an employee engaging in some protected activity. Below, we discuss the protected activities that can give rise to unlawful workplace retaliation and the various forms that retaliation can take. If you’ve experienced retaliation, harassment, or other violations of your rights in a Southern California workplace, speak with an experienced Riverside Labor and employment lawyer to learn how you can protect your rights.

Protected Conduct Leading to Unlawful Retaliation

Retaliation occurs whenever an employee is subjected to adverse employment actions in response to their exercise of a protected right. California state and federal laws protect employees who engage in a variety of conduct. If you’ve experienced retaliation after performing any of the following actions, you could have a claim for unlawful retaliation:

  • Reporting a violation of the law or regulations, such as harassment, discrimination, or illegal conduct, either internally or externally to a government agency
  • Participating in a legal action or investigation regarding unlawful conduct in the workplace such as wage and hour violations, unsafe work environment, or criminal conduct
  • Taking protected family or medical leave
  • Filing or receiving workers’ compensation
  • Requesting an accommodation for a disability or religious practice
  • Attending jury duty
  • Refusing to follow orders believed to be unlawful
  • Resisting harassment or discrimination or taking steps to protect other employees from harassment or discrimination

Examples of Workplace Retaliation

Termination of an employee after performing a protected act is the quintessential form of workplace retaliation (also called wrongful termination). Termination, however, is just one form of retaliation prohibited under California’s employee protection laws. Unlawful retaliation occurs whenever an employer undertakes or permits adverse employment action to be taken against an employee in response to the employee exercising a protected right.

Some examples of unlawful retaliation include the following:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Denying a bonus or other compensation
  • Refusing to hire or promote
  • Preventing access to co-workers, training, support, or tools necessary to perform the worker’s job
  • Fostering or permitting a hostile work environment
  • Recording unjustified citations, poor performance reviews, or demerits against the employee
  • Unjustifiably giving the worker a poor job reference
  • Reducing wages or salary
  • Transferring the employee to a less desirable location or position
  • Making a worker’s job insufferable or workplace hostile in order to force them to resign (constructive termination)

If you engaged in a protected activity and you suspect you’ve been punished as a result, discuss your case with an experienced wrongful termination and retaliation attorney.

Secure the Compensation You Deserve After Unlawful Workplace Retaliation

For help recovering after experiencing unlawful retaliation in Southern California, call Ochoa & Calderón to discuss your case with an experienced, compassionate California labor and employment attorney. Call 951-901-4444 in Riverside or 844-401-0750 toll-free throughout Southern California.

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