California Employers May Not Retaliate When Employees Assert Their Rights

Picture of blogpost California Employers May Not Retaliate When Employees Assert Their Rights

Employees have rights in the workplace. Any business in California that employs individuals must not infringe upon these important workplace rights or it faces serious legal consequences. Employer retaliation for legitimate employee actions is illegal and subject to the payment of damages for any harm caused by such action. Moss Bollinger is an employment law firm that works hard and diligently to protect California employees from any employer that acts as if it is above or beyond the law.

Often, when employees assert their workplace rights formally or even informally, employers may retaliate to subvert these rights. Employers take this course of action to set a precedent, one undesirable in any workplace, to create a toxic atmosphere of fear to prevent such employee complaints from occurring again in the future. The attorneys at Moss Bollinger find this course of conduct unacceptable and will fight to make employers pay for encroaching upon the valuable rights possessed by California workers.

California employers typically retaliate when employees:

  • Complain about employer wage violations such as unpaid overtime.
  • Complain about workplace safety violations.
  • Report (“whistleblow”) an employer’s violations of the law to a state or federal authority.

Retaliation by an employer for any of the aforementioned legal employee conduct is illegal in California and any employer who engages in such conduct may be held responsible in a California court. There are many other activities in which an employee may legally engage without fear of retaliation. Yet, employers often react to legally protected employee activity with little or no regard for the law in such a manner to discourage any type of employee discord in the workplace.

Retaliation occurs when an employer reacts to legitimate employee conduct with some method or form of punishment or adverse employment action against an employee. Acts of retaliation may take a variety of forms, such as attempts to harm an employee financially by demotion, cutting pay, exclusion of the employee from gaining promotion, or even termination.

Employers may also engage in psychological retaliation with threats, harassment, bullying, and humiliation. Other examples of retaliation include threatening conduct related to affecting an employee’s immigration status, disseminating private information, and damaging the employee’s reputation.

Rather than take corrective action as legally required, employers tend to retaliate against employers for legitimate workplace complaints. 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.”

It is illegal for an employer to fire or discriminate against an employee for making a good faith complaint about an unhealthy or unsafe condition. If you have been a victim of employer retaliation, your employer has engaged in illegal conduct.

The State of California has passed laws to protect workers from retaliation. However, workers must often take the first step to assert and defend their rights. Contacting and discussing your case with an experienced employment law attorney is often the best way of protecting important legal rights. Moss Bollinger takes pride in holding employers accountable for illegal acts of retaliation against employees. We work on a contingency basis which means that we only receive a fee if you win your case. Contact Moss Bollinger today by phone at 866-942-7974 for a free consultation or reach us online.