Retaliation occurs when an employer punishes an employee for engaging in legally protected activity; in other words, an employer punishes an employee for something he or she is entitled to do. California laws protect employees from retaliation.

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects employees from unlawful forms of discrimination, including retaliation. According to the California Code of Regulations §7287.8, it is illegal for an employer to “demote, suspend, reduce, fail to hire or consider for hire, fail to give equal consideration in making employment decisions, fail to treat impartially in the context of any recommendations for subsequent employment which the employer may make, adversely affect working conditions or otherwise deny any employment benefit to an individual” for filing a complaint, testifying, or assisting in any proceedings brought against the employer.  An “adverse employment action” refers to an action that materially affects the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. Adverse employment actions that can constitute retaliation include demotion, discipline, and salary reduction. Punishment does not necessarily have to be as obvious as a discharge or demotion; it can also include more subtle actions, such as being denied a raise, being reassigned to an undesirable shift, or being prevented from transferring.  In essence, if an employee is reasonably deterred from filing a complaint or testifying against an employer in fear of some sort of punishment, he or she may establish legal retaliation.

If you suspect your employer has infringed upon your rights and retaliated against you, don’t wait any longer to contact us.