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Revenge is not always sweet, and it’s actually illegal in the workplace through a term called workplace retaliation. Workplace retaliation laws protect employees who make discrimination or harassment complaints or participate in workplace investigations. Employers cannot punish the employees that participate in these acts.
Punishment isn’t limited to firing or demotion, as it can also include being transferred, being passed over for a promotion, and missing out on workplace retreats and mentorship opportunities. Employers still have the right to discipline or terminate workers for bad behavior, but they are not allowed to do anything that would discourage other employees from following the first employee’s example of what is called “protected activity.”
The EEO determines protected activity as any complaint to HR on the basis of discrimination or harassment. Employers are required to create an environment that is safe for all employees, regardless of gender, race, or sexuality. Employees have every right to report unfair treatment and illegal activity, as well as participate in any internal investigations that may follow another employee’s claims.
If any of you have been retaliated against by an employer at work in Newport Beach, then you should reach out to a Newport Beach workplace lawyer to assess the situation and determine a course of action.
Workplace Retaliation Laws in California
The state of California has specific laws in place by the State Commissioner that prohibit retaliation against employees following their complaints about harassment, unfair treatment, and unfair wages. The code also protects employees from being terminated due to lawful conduct outside of the workplace. Employees must file these complaints within six months of the retaliatory act.
The California labor code also has specific guidelines about the treatment of those dealing with or having experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. If an employee needs to take time off work to legally handle any of these matters or participate in a therapeutic program, they are also protected under this code. Survivors of sexuality-related abuse such as this are given one year to file a complaint with the labor commissioner.
You are also protected against retaliation following complaints regarding workplace safety. Workplace safety is usually covered by OSHA, and these cases cover a statute of limitations of thirty days.
Evidence You’re Being Retaliated Against
Filing a complaint against your employer will have consequences. However, these are not always illegal, according to the EEO. If you complain about sexual comments and advances from a manager, they may act less friendly to you following your complaints. Only changes that have an adverse effect on your job standing can be deemed retaliatory.
However, if something negative happens to you following your complaints, then you may have a strong case for an employment retaliation attorney Newport Beach. Keep in mind that not every retaliatory act is obvious or necessarily means your job is threatened. Some subtle retaliatory acts can be sudden exclusion from staff meetings, removal from a project, unnecessary scrutiny, and an unexpected and poor performance review.
Additionally, termination following your conversations with HR regarding harassment is not always related back to your complaints. Filing a workplace complaint will not be total protection against termination. If you’re terminated based on poor performance, this decision may have nothing to do with your complaints. However, your employer should have made you aware of these performance concerns prior to terminating you. If they did not bother to provide a warning, then you may have a case for Newport Beach workplace retaliation lawyers.
Building a Case
You have every right to make your employer aware of any discriminatory or unfair practices within the company, and you also have a right to participate in any harassment or discrimination investigations conducted on behalf of your company. If you feel you have been terminated or disciplined in a form of retaliation following any of these situations, then you can contact a Newport Beach workplace lawyer about filing a complaint with the California labor commissioner.
You should be aware of any statutes of limitations regarding your case, as most workplace retaliation cases must be made within six months to one year of the incident, unless otherwise stated.
If the government deems they have jurisdiction over your incident, they will conduct an investigation over the issues raised. Any parties involved, including the worker, the supervisor, the HR employee, and relevant witnesses, will be interviewed. In some cases, a hearing will be conducted to gather additional information, and both sides of the case will attend along with any workplace attorneys they have by their side. A determination letter detailing the investigation and its findings will be presented to both parties following a complete and unbiased investigation.
Employment matters are tricky, and you want to make sure you have a strong case when you file your complaint. A workplace retaliation attorney can ensure that you are within the statute of limitations and have all documentation necessary to build a strong case. If you’ve been retaliated against following any workplace complaints, don’t hesitate to contact Accident Lawyers Firm, where we can review your case with you and determine the best course of action.