The laws in California are protective of the rights of employees against discrimination and harassment from employers. This extends to actions taken by employers to punish or deter employees when they make these claims against their employers, act as whistleblowers against employer impropriety, or engage in some other activity that their employer doesn't like. This is referred to as retaliation, and it is illegal. It is therefore important as an employee in California to be aware of your many legal protections from retaliation.
Employee Actions Protected from Punishment
California Labor Code 98.6 provides that "A person shall not discharge an employee or in any manner discriminate, retaliate, or take any adverse action against any employee or applicant for employment because the employee or applicant engaged in any conduct delineated in this chapter", including an employee:
· Who exercises "recognized constitutional rights" off hours and away from the worksite.
· Who runs as a candidate who runs for public office.
· Who discloses information to a government or law enforcement agency.
· Who refuses to engage in a violation of state or federal law at the request of the employer.
· Who has brought a complaint or claim about his or her rights that is under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner.
· Who is going to testify on behalf of another employee or applicant.
· Who has made a complaint about unpaid wages.
In addition, Labor Code 230 provides protections against retaliation for employees in the following scenarios:
· Takes time off to serve on a jury.
· Takes time off to comply with a subpoena or serve as a witness.
· The employee's status as the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
· Takes time off due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
· The employee is a volunteer fire fighter, reserve peace officer, or emergency rescue personnel who is deployed to a disaster or must receive mandatory training.
· Uses accrued sick leave.
· The employee lawfully changes his or her name and attempts to update the employer with the name change.
· The employee requests reasonable accommodations to participate in drug or alcohol rehab.
Beyond these numerous categories of protection, there are also extensive protections against: (1) employers who retaliate against employees who attempt to use their accrued sick leave; (2) employers who make threats against a person's immigrant status; (3) retaliation against employees pursuing worker's compensation claims; (4) retaliation against employees who have raised safety concerns; and (5) retaliation against service members who take time for service or training.
You Need an Attorney
The State of California and California Courts take retaliation incredibly seriously, and so do we. Retaliation can take on many different forms, and it isn't always obvious. If you feel like your employer is retaliating against you or you have questions, contact Moss Bollinger. We will hold employers accountable for illegal acts of retaliation against employees. We charge no up front fees for our services and are only paid if you get paid. Contact Moss Bollinger today by phone at 800-249-1175 for a consultation or reach us online.