Workplace retaliation occurs when an employer punishes or treats an employee differently for participating in a legally protected activity. Unfortunately, there are employers who think they can avoid safety rules, commit fraud, theft, or engage in other wrongdoing or illegalities in the workplace and get away with it.
In particular, adverse actions should never be taken against any employee simply for raising occupational safety or health concerns, or for reporting the occurrence of wrongdoing in the workplace. All employers have a duty to ensure a safe work environment and the consequences of engaging in workplace retaliation can be substantial.
It’s a fact that you will not always get along with your coworkers or boss. Tension and friction at work is inevitable when people with different personalities work so closely together. However, there are instances when a work disagreement can become hostile and may also have unlawful repercussions.
For example, perhaps you were in the position to defend a coworker who was subject to racial discrimination. Maybe you spoke up about illegal activities that were happening in your workplace. While there is nothing wrong with speaking up for a coworker or reporting an employer’s illegal activity, your employer may still decide to retaliate against you.
No one deserves to be retaliated against simply for asserting their rights. A workplace retaliation lawyer with West Coast Employment Lawyers is always here to explain your rights and defend you if were the victim of workplace retaliation.
What Exactly Does Workplace Retaliation Look Like?
Let’s consider a classic example of workplace retaliation. Say that Mary goes to her company’s Human Resources Department (HR ) and explains that, “Joe will not stop asking me out for a drink. I have been clear and repeatedly told him no, but he insists. Can you please make him stop?”
However, since Joe is one of the company’s top earners, the HR manager decides to ignore Mary’s valid complaints and simply transfer Mary to another department. This is a straightforward example of workplace retaliation: Mary complained about very real instances of sexual harassment, and in response, her employer punished her by moving her to another department with less earning potential.
Common Examples Of Workplace Retaliation
You Are Denied A Promotion, Demoted Or Fired. Exposing an employer’s illegal practices, requesting reasonable accommodation, or assisting in any employment related legal proceedings are all protected conduct under California and federal employment law.
Simply put: if your employer demotes you, fires you, denies you a promotion, or decreases your pay in response to the above mentioned protected activities, they may be guilty of workplace retaliation.
You Are No Longer Included In Workplace Activities. Isolating an employee is a very common but overlooked form of retaliation. For example, if your manager starts excluding you from meetings, work-related decisions, or any activities you should be involved in, this could count as retaliation.
Let’s say that you defended a coworker who was being racially harassed by your supervisor. The next day, you check your calendar and discover that you are no longer scheduled on any of your team’s weekly meetings. This may prove that your supervisor has unlawfully retaliated against you for standing up for your coworker.
You Are Verbally Abused. For example, you are a female digital marketing specialist who just presented a new strategy to your marketing team. Immediately after the presentation, a male coworker ridicules you and says, “Men should be the ones coming up with the ideas!”
The verbal abuse continues even after the marketing meeting and makes your work life unbearable. You then make a complaint to your HR Department and learn that the abusive male coworker also happens to be best friends with the Human Resources manager. In this case, your employer may be held liable for the harassment coming from your coworkers.
They Act Like You Don’t Even Exist. You are not obligated to do so, but if you choose to make a complaint against your employer, it is a good idea to keep it to yourself. It’s very common for employees who file retaliation claims to report that they were completely ignored by coworkers after filing a complaint.
For example, an employee files a sexual harassment claim against the company’s boss. The boss is very popular and well respected by everyone. One night, the employee goes out with some of her team members and tells a coworker about the sexual harassment claim she just filed. Soon, word gets out about her complaint and she is no longer invited anywhere by her coworkers. This could amount to retaliation.
You Experience Post-Employment Retaliation. Say that a situation at work becomes so unbearable that you have no choice but to leave your job. You can still be subject to retaliation. For example, if you are looking for a new job and use your former employer’s name as a reference, your former employer can attempt to sabotage you by providing negative or disparaging information about you. This scenario can also constitute as retaliatory.
What Can West Coast Employment Lawyers Do For You?
If you have made up your mind to take action, it is important to work with an attorney that specializes in cases like yours. The workplace retaliation lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers have extensive experience handling workplace retaliation cases. We will work tirelessly to gather the facts, find and interview eyewitnesses, hire experts, and fight for your rights.
We work on a contingency basis, which means we only get attorney’s fees if we are able to recover for you. Our legal team is available 24/7 and will take care of your case from start to finish. For a free no-obligation consultation with a workplace retaliation attorney in California, contact our office at 213-927-3700.
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