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Labor Code Retaliation

retaliation law

Under the California Labor Code Section 1102.5, covered employers are prohibited from enforcing any rule or regulation within their workplaces that disallows employees to disclose any information about their illegal activities to any government or law enforcement agency. Other California laws also provide that employers cannot subject employees to an adverse employment action in retaliation for divulging such information. Although the prevailing state laws give employees the opportunity to do what is right and just, there are some companies and employers that continually commit actions that are considered retaliatory, disregarding the consequences of violating these laws. This is why it is no surprise that workplace retaliation is still one of the prevailing issues in the realm of employment in California.

Wage earners, for the most part, are entitled to assert their rights, especially when they experience problems with their employers regarding their wages or their working conditions. In these instances, workers can file their complaints with any of the appropriate agencies in California that focus on employment, like the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), also known as the Office of the Labor Commissioner. However, some employers, upon finding out what their workers did, may likely retaliate against them by demoting them, denying them of their wages, disciplining them by having them serve suspensions or rendering longer working hours, reassigning them to another job or having them relocated to another worksite, or even having them fired immediately.

To better understand what Labor Code retaliation and retaliatory actions in violation of the other state laws, below are some of the instances wherein workers are retaliated against in employment just because they did something that is protected under the law:

  • Filing for workers’ compensation claim.
    Workers who suffered work-related injuries may file claims of workers’ compensation. However, there are some employers who decide not to help them, instead terminating them or subjecting them to any adverse employment action. Some of them even think that their injured workers are trying to collect from the private insurance’s benefits by faking their injuries.
  • Submitting a discrimination, harassment, or wage complaint.
    While workers have the right to file any of these claims with any appropriate agency, employers involved in those claims try to intimidate them by retaliating against them.
  • Reporting an illegal workplace practice with any agency,
    regardless if it is within the county, city, state, or federal level. Some employers engage in employment practices that are considered fraudulent and morally and ethically wrong in a lot of labor standards. Because such actions violate public policies, they should be reported to law enforcement or government agencies. Then again, some employers involved in these complaints respond badly, retaliating against them for exercising a protected right.
  • Filing a medical or family leave.
    Workers having to deal with illness, or having to give birth and take care of the newborn can file for leaves through either the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). However, not all employers are willing to give them these leaves, and with aggrieved employees filing complaints with regards to this, it is likely that they may be retaliated against.
  • Getting involved in an investigation about a company’s alleged discrimination, harassment, or any unlawful practice.
    Even if an employee was indirectly affected by his or her employer’s alleged involvement in an illegal activity, discrimination or harassment in the workplace, he or she may support a co-worker’s complaint or lawsuit by serving as a witness or provide testimony. Although he or she is entitled to his or her right, it is also likely he or she may be retaliated against.

California Labor Code retaliation and other retaliatory actions that violate federal and state employment laws may not be totally eradicated, but they could be alleviated with the help of agencies who are ready to help aggrieved employees get the justice they deserve. Alternately, they may seek to consult with attorneys who specialize in employment and labor law in the state.

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