One of your managers recently created a hostile work environment by using obscene language with you on multiple occasions. You decided to follow your workplace’s sexual harassment policy and file a complaint against the individual within the human resources department. Now you’ve received a demotion and a pay cut with no explanation. Your manager also gave your best shifts away to a new employee.
Sadly, situations like the one in this example happen to hundreds of employees every year. This is retaliation – the most frequently alleged type of discrimination in the workplace according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If this sounds like what recently happened to you in California, come to Winer, Burritt & Scott, LLP, for experienced legal help.
What Is Retaliation?
The Civil Rights Act protects employees from sexual harassment in the workplace. What many people don’t realize is that these laws also protect employees from retaliation. Retaliation occurs when an employer punishes an employee for filing complaints regarding sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Various federal laws protect against retaliation and establish the rights of “whistleblowers” (people who file complaints about unsafe workplaces). Retaliation can take a variety of forms, including:
- Salary reduction
- Job termination
- Denial of a raise
- Denial of promotion
- Missed training opportunities
- Job reassignment
- Less desirable schedule
- Poor performance review
- Exclusion from staff activities
Some forms of retaliation are obvious while others are subtler. For example, an employer could switch an employee to the nightshift knowing that he or she has children, making his or her life more difficult. Any negative action from an employer following a harassment claim is potentially retaliation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) deems retaliation illegal, regardless of whether the claim was true, if the employee made the claim in good faith. In other words, an employer isn’t legally justified to commit retaliation just because sexual harassment never really occurred in the workplace.
What to Do About Workplace Retaliation
Not all adverse employer actions are retaliation. Retaliation must have a negative impact on your employment to establish grounds for a lawsuit. If you have reason to believe that an employer, manager, or another party is retaliating against you in the workplace, seek help from our California attorneys. We have offices scattered throughout California and take cases from anywhere in the state. Our lawyers can investigate your claim and help you learn whether retaliation is taking place. Working with a team of experienced attorneys can help you get back on your feet and obtain justice for workplace retaliation.
We may first recommend that you talk to your human resources department about the situation. There may be another reason for your employer’s actions that is unrelated to your recent complaint. If, however, your employer can’t explain the recent adverse employment situations affecting you, you may be the victim of retaliation. The attorneys at Winer, Burritt & Scott, LLP, can help you take your case to the EEOC, California’s fair employment agency, or the civil courts, if necessary.
Contact an Experienced California Retaliation Attorney
Building a retaliation case requires proving a connection between your recent sexual harassment or discrimination complaint and your employer’s adverse actions. As soon as you suspect retaliation, start recording information. Document each time something retaliatory occurs. Keep copies of reports or emails that can help your case, such as a positive performance review prior to the complaint and a negative one after. The more information you document, the stronger your case may be. Learn more about your specific retaliation case in a free consultation with one of our passionate attorneys. Call (510) 433-1000 or contact us online today.
**We do not represent perpetrators of sexual harassment or those who are accused of sexually harassing behavior.