Glendale Workplace Retaliation Lawyer
As an employee, you are entitled to stand up for yourself and others at work and to report any wrongdoing to a government agency. Under various federal and California employee retaliation laws, retaliation in the workplace is illegal when your employer fires you or takes any adverse action after you engage in protected activities.
If you believe you are a victim of workplace retaliation in California, it is critical to understand your legal rights and take action to protect yourself with a Glendale employee retaliation lawyer at Berberian Ain LLP. We are dedicated to assisting you throughout the legal process, from investigating your case to filing a complaint or pursuing compensation through a civil lawsuit.
What is Workplace Retaliation in California?
Workplace retaliation is a form of unlawful discrimination where employers, labor organizations, or employment agencies act against employees for taking part in legally protected activities, such as participating in workplace misconduct investigations or filing a complaint of discrimination with a fair employment practices agency.
Examples of workplace retaliation include:
- Terminating the employee
- Spreading false rumors
- Creating a hostile work environment
- Increasing scrutiny of the employee’s work or personal life
- Giving an employee a reprimand or an unfair evaluation
- Demoting a worker to an undesirable position or department
- Threatening an employee to contact the police to report their immigration status
- Changing a worker’s schedule to conflict with family obligations or giving them impossible tasks that make their work more difficult
Other examples of retaliation in the workplace include reducing an employee’s salary or preventing the employee from receiving the training, equipment, and support they need to perform their tasks. For example, you work at a restaurant and discover that you and other employees aren’t receiving the minimum wages required in California. You file a claim for wage theft with the Labor Commissioner’s Office, and your employer fires you after making a claim.
What Protections Do Employees Have in California?
Employees have several protections against employer retaliation under the law. Employers can’t retaliate against their employees for taking the following legally guaranteed rights:
Filing Discrimination or Harassment Complaints
Under California Government Code 12940(h), companies cannot retaliate against employees who report unlawful discrimination or harassment. A company cannot punish an employee who participates in an investigation for a discrimination or harassment claim.
Making a Report About an Unsafe Workplace
An organization can’t retaliate against employees complaining about unsafe working conditions, such as a lack of guardrails and chemical contamination at a worksite. They can’t retaliate against employees who refuse to do work that violates safety or health standards and would create a danger for themselves or others.
Exercise their Rights Under California’s Labor Code
It is against the law for an employer to terminate, discriminate against, retaliate, or take any hostile action towards an employee or job applicant for engaging in conduct protected by California labor laws, such as testifying or speaking out about labor law violations like not providing adequate breaks during employees’ shifts.
Taking Protected Family or Medical Leave
Companies may not retaliate against an employee for taking a leave of absence for childcare or other serious medical conditions under the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) with reasonable advance notice.
Whistleblower Retaliation in California
California Labor Code §1102.5 prohibits businesses from retaliating against employees who report suspected law violations to internal company officials and government agencies.
State employees and the public can report unethical and illegal behavior to the State Auditor under the California Whistleblower Protection Act. California Whistleblower Protection Act examples involve:
- Any conduct that might impair an employee’s job performance, such as denying the resources to carry on with their duties
- Taking adverse actions against an employee’s advancement prospects, such as not promoting them when they deserve it
For federal employees, the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 (WPA) safeguards employee whistleblower protection from government officials for reporting gross mismanagement, waste of funds, abuse of authority, or substantial danger to public safety and well-being. Government officials cannot take or threaten to take action because of whistleblower disclosures.
If you have experienced retaliation from your employer due to whistleblowing, a Glendale employment lawyer at Berberian Ain LLP can help protect your rights. Your lawyer can help you prepare your complaint to file with the appropriate government agencies.
How to File a Complaint
Berberian Ain LLP can help you develop a strong case against your employer’s illegal retaliation. To protect your rights after being subjected to retaliation by your employer, your lawyer will help you take the following actions:
Prepare Your Documentation
You need to demonstrate that your employer acted adversely against you because you engaged in a protected activity. Submitting your complaint requires a statement about the employer’s retaliatory acts and any accompanying documents to prove the retaliation.
Your attorney can collect evidence that connects your company’s retaliation to a legally protected action you took. For example, they can review the notice of your leave of absence to verify that you gave your employer advanced notice. If your coworkers witnessed threats or abuse from your employer, your lawyer can interview them for their statements.
File Your Complaint Against the Employer
You have a one-year deadline to file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner’s office after experiencing employer retaliation. Your attorney can help you complete a complaint online or deliver it to your local Labor Commissioner’s Office location.
Upon receiving your complaint, the Retaliation Complaint Investigation Unit (RCI) will determine whether to investigate it. If the RCI agrees to look into your complaint, they will interview you, your employer, and witnesses, request documents, and organize conferences or hearings.
Upon finding retaliation towards you by your employer, the RCI will order your employer to pay you back wages, reinstate you, remove any negative endorsements from your record, and cease engaging in further retaliation. The Labor Commissioner’s Office may file a lawsuit if your employer doesn’t comply with the determination.
If you are past the deadline to file a complaint, you may file a lawsuit against your employer.
Submit a Complaint for Whistleblower Retaliation
To report improper governmental activity in California, you can file a complaint online, call the Whistleblower Hotline, or mail it to the State Auditor. The State Auditor keeps your complaints and identity confidential, except for law enforcement agencies conducting a criminal investigation. The investigation is confidential until the State Auditor confirms any improper activity and creates a report.
As an employee of a federal agency, you can file an otherwise appealable action to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) within 30 days. This appeal is for when you experience adverse actions like pay increase denials and reductions in grade for unacceptable performance.
You can make an individual right of action (IRA) appeal if a federal agency retaliates against you through a personnel action, such as an unfair transfer to another department. This appeal means that before you go to MSPB, you must file first with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) within 65 days. The OSC will review your IRA appeal for the retaliation action, but the MSPB will not review the actual personnel action.
How Much Does a Retaliation Attorney Cost?
Hiring an attorney for an employer retaliation case depends on your attorney’s fee schedule. In California, attorneys must discuss your fees before taking on your case and cannot charge an unreasonable amount. Many attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they do not collect payment until or unless they win a settlement for you.
The cost of a retaliation attorney from Berberian Ain LLP depends on the outcome of your case. The lawyers at Berberian Ain LLP work on a contingency basis, so you won’t have to pay any upfront costs. We only receive payment if you win your case.
Contact a Glendale Employee Retaliation Lawyer
If you have been subjected to workplace retaliation in California, it is important to take action to protect yourself and others. Filing a complaint and seeking restitution can help make your employer accountable for their actions. The Berberian Ain LLP employment retaliation attorney in Glendale, California, understands the difficulties and complexities of employment matters, and we are dedicated to helping our clients get the justice they deserve.
Call us today to schedule a free case review with one of our lawyers.