Los Angeles CA workers may expect to be treated based on their behavior in the workplace, but employees have rights when it comes to wrongful punishment or retaliation. If you are engaged in protected activities, federal law exists to protect employees from any kind of retaliation or revenge based on those activities. Speak to a Los Angeles retaliation attorney right away if you believe you may have a retaliation claim.
WHAT ARE PROTECTED ACTIVITIES?
There are two basic types of protected activities:
- Reporting illegal or potentially illegal activity: If you believe your employer is breaking the law, you have the right to report that behavior to the proper authorities. You must be acting with a good faith belief that your employer is engaged in the prohibited activity. Similarly, you can also make reports to federal, state, or local regulatory agencies if you believe that there is a violation. For example, if you know of a worker safety issue your employer refuses to address, you can report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and you can report sexual harassment and workplace discrimination issues to your own company’s human resources department.
- Cooperating in an investigation: Your employer cannot take action against you if you give information to an agency investigating your company, such as a compliance agency or law enforcement. Even if you testify against your company under a subpoena, you are protected as part of your employee rights. If you are more comfortable, you can speak to a Los Angeles retaliation attorney during the legal process.
FEDERAL PROTECTIONS AGAINST RETALIATION
There are in fact many different federal laws to protect Los Angeles CA employees against retaliation in the workplace. Employment law is designed to offer a safe environment for everyone in the workplace, free from discrimination or harassment. Employers who try to threaten or punish employees for exercising their rights may become liable for workplace retaliation cases instead. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was created as part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to enforce rules regarding workforce discrimination, but there are a wide variety of laws that are relevant for different kinds of retaliation cases. The Civil Rights Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Equal Pay Act are some of the most commonly used federal protections for a victim of retaliation. Other laws may protect you in different situations. For instance, until the Family and Medical Leave Act, there was not as much protection for those who needed to take time off from work for family and medical reasons. People would take a medical leave and the employee would not allow them to return to work.
HOW TO PROVE YOU ARE A VICTIM OF RETALIATION
Always start by speaking with a Los Angeles retaliation attorney so that you can get a free assessment as part of your initial consultation. Your attorney will understand your situation and how it affects your rights. These are the steps you will take:
- First, you will need to prove that you were participating in a protected activity, such as making a complaint about discrimination or harassment or participating in an investigation against your employer.
- Second, you will need to prove that you were punished for this activity. This punishment could be getting fired, being demoted, or losing overtime hours that you were getting before you engaged in the protected activity.
- Finally, you must show that the punishment was specifically because you engaged in the protected activity. Your employer may try to use evidence that there were other reasons you were demoted or fired, in an effort to prove the action was not workplace retaliation. If you have a poor work record, with many unexcused absences or reviews reporting that you were underperforming in your position, it may be more difficult to prove that there was an act of retaliation. This is the area where your attorney may be able to offer the most help because this is the most difficult to prove.
Not every termination is illegal. Unless you have a contract that defines the scope of your employment, your employer may be able to fire you at will. However, it is unlawful to terminate your employment in a “fundamentally unfair way” or in retaliation because of protected activities.
DISCRIMINATION HARASSMENT RETALIATION ATTORNEYS
Under employment law, you are protected from discrimination and retaliation, and no one can harass you in the workplace. These practice areas have a lot of overlap because they deal with many of the same issues, and our Los Angeles retaliation attorneys have experience with many of these kinds of cases. It is illegal to discriminate against any California employee because of
- sex/gender (includes pregnancy and other related issues)
- gender identity
- sexual orientation
- medical status
- medical condition
These are all protected classes in California and your employer cannot take action against you or treat you differently at your job because of any of these different classifications. If you believe you may have a case because of any of these issues, call our Los Angeles office today for a free consultation. We will discuss your case and let you know about your legal options in a protected conversation we will not share with anyone. You can only make an informed choice about what to do next if you have all the information and choices available. Call us today so we can start helping you with your case.