California Workplace Retaliation Laws

What Workplace Retaliation Means

Workplace retaliation takes many forms, including terminating, demoting an employee, or reducing their pay or hours. Other forms include assigning an employee to a less desirable shift or location, failing to promote them, or mistreating them.

For the court to find your employer guilty of workplace retaliation, you must prove that:

  • You engaged in a protected activity.
  • Your employer was aware of your protected activity.
  • You suffered an adverse action by your employer.
  • There was a causal connection between your protected activity and the adverse action.

You could show a causal connection by proving that the employer took the adverse action shortly after learning about your protected activity.

Employers Retaliating for Whistleblowing

California Labor Code 1102.5, a statute under employment law in California, USA, prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who:

  • Report the employer’s illegal conduct to a government or law enforcement agency.
  • Refuse to participate in illegal activities.
  • Testify or cooperate in an investigation against the employer.
  • Engage in protected activities under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

Workplace Retaliation Protection Under FEHA

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who engage in protected activities, such as:

  • Complaining about discrimination or harassment.
  • Requesting reasonable accommodation for a disability.
  • Taking family and medical leave.

FEHA retaliation happens when your employer discriminates against you for doing the above activities.

False Claims Act (Qui Tam) Employee Protection

The False Claims Act (FCA) is a federal law that prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report or attempt to stop the employer’s fraudulent activities. The FCA applies to employees who report fraud against the government, including Medicaid and Medicare fraud. To prove retaliation under the FCA, you must show that:

  • You reported or attempted to stop your employer’s fraud.
  • Your employer was aware of your report.
  • You suffered an adverse action by your employer.
  • There was a causal connection between your report or attempt to stop the fraud and the adverse action.

Suing for Workplace Retaliation in California

You must first file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The DFEH investigates your complaint and attempts to resolve the matter through mediation. If the DFEH cannot resolve the matter, it may issue a “right-to-sue” letter, which will allow you to file a lawsuit against your employer. You must hire a competent lawyer to sue my employer in the USA if you want to achieve positive outcomes.

Damages for Workplace Retaliation

If you win your workplace retaliation case, you may be entitled to damages, including lost wages and benefits, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees and costs. To learn more about filing a workplace retaliation claim in California, contact an experienced employment lawyer.

 

 

 

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