Federal and California laws protect employees from unlawful workplace retaliation. An employer cannot punish an employee for engaging in protected activity such as attempting to enforce legal rights or reporting illegal activity by the company. Despite the law, many employees allege that employers continue to fire, demote or otherwise punish employees in retaliation for asserting their rights. Such punishment can include being denied a pay raise, promotion or transfer to a position or missing out on an important training.
Some examples that trigger unlawful workplace retaliation include:
- Complaining about unpaid overtime
- Requesting or taking a leave of absence for a disability, pregnancy or family emergency
- Complaining of unlawful harassment or discrimination at work
- Reporting the company’s unlawful activity to a state or federal agency
- Acting as a witness for a co-worker’s claim against the company
California Labor Code §98.6 protects employees who complain to their employer about violations of the California Labor Code from workplace retaliation based on those complaints. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects employees from workplace retaliation for resisting unlawful discrimination or harassment. These laws are codified in California Government Code §12900 and those that follow.
If you have questions about workplace retaliation, contact Kletter Law.