California laws protect workers against wrongful termination, discrimination, and harassment. However, some workers who find it necessary to assert these rights sometimes face retaliation from the people for who they work. They should also teach themselves to identify retaliation in the workplace and understand the protections that guard against this type of abuse.
Who is protected
Both California and federal laws make it against the law to retaliate against employees who report illegal activities, workplace harassment, and any form of discrimination. The same holds for employees who need accommodations to accommodate their religious beliefs or disabilities.
Identifying workplace retaliation
Workplace discrimination happens when an employee experience discrimination or an adverse reaction from their employer after engaging in a protected activity. It is not difficult to identify or prove this adverse reaction when it includes job termination. But some retaliation from employers is more subtle and will require more effort to uncover.
One or more negative performance reviews following a history of positive reviews may be a sign of retaliation. Employers may also retaliate against employees through actions like increased workloads and reassignments to undesired shifts or duties.
Employees facing discrimination in the workplace may not receive raises and promotions they would otherwise deserve. These workers may also miss out on valuable educational and training opportunities that would help further their careers.
Relief may be available to past and present employees who experience workplace retaliation or discrimination through the California Labor Commission. The commission also accepts complaints from job applicants who feel they missed out on a job opportunity for unlawful reasons. Employees have one year from the date of the retaliatory action to file their claim in most cases. But some exceptions sometimes extend this deadline.
All workers enjoy the right to perform their job duties in a workplace free from any form of discrimination. Individuals with questions regarding these rights or who suffer a violation of these rights may benefit from a consultation with an employment law attorney.