A California employee has engaged in a protected activity if he has acted as a “whistleblower” (i.e., whistleblower retaliation), levied a charge against his or her employer, provided testimony, assisted in an investigation or otherwise participated in statutory proceedings or hearings that expose an employer to civil or criminal liability.1
Moreover, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee who challenged behavior (by the employer) which the employee has a reasonable and good faith belief to be illegal. A California employer, therefore, cannot terminate or otherwise retaliate against an employee who reports the misconduct or misdeeds on the basis of this good faith belief.Here’s an example:
Emily Employee works for Bill Boss. Emily works as an auditor in the accounting department of Boss, Inc. Emily has personally witnessed Bill and management employees engage in tax fraud. Emily is afraid some of the blame could ultimately be cast on her. She takes proactive steps and notifies the IRS. Bill discovers an e-mail from Emily to the IRS. He becomes incensed. He quickly terminates her. Can Emily sue for retaliation?
Yes, Emily is engaged in the protected activity of revealing her employer’s criminal activity to law enforcement. Bill Boss can be civilly liable for taking an adverse employment action against her, i.e., terminating her.Examples of Protected Activity and Public Policy
- Protesting Unsafe Working Conditions;
- Refusing to Sign a Non-competition Agreement;
- Refusing to Release an Employer from Liability for Intentional Acts;
- Whistleblowing about Misappropriation of Public Funds;
- Disclosing Improper Acts which affect the Public;
- Testifying at a Hearing;
- Advocating Medical Care;
- Discussing Wages with Co-workers; or
- Political Activity.
If an employer takes any of the following actions against you because of your protected activity, you may have a claim under the FEHA:
- Refusing to hire or employ you;
- Refusing to select you for a training program which can lead to employment;
- Discharging you from employment or a training program leading to employment;
- Discrimination in compensation or terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
For a plaintiff to raise a successful retaliation claim against a California employer, the employee-plaintiff must demonstrate that:
- he or she was engaged in a protected activity
- the employee suffered an adverse employment action; and
- there was a causative link between the employee’s protected activity and the employer’s adverse action
At The Nourmand Law Firm, our employment retaliation plaintiff’s lawyers are experienced, seasoned and highly-skilled employment attorneys. We have a track record of success and excellence in representing our clients. Our clients are generally employees who suffered a wide range of abuses: wrongful termination, discrimination, demotion, denial of compensation (including the minimum wage, overtime, compensation for meal periods and rest periods) and other actions that violate the California Labor Code. Employers often violate other laws, however, including the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) or the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which makes them liable under these statutes. We are experienced and knowledgeable in prosecuting retaliation claims on behalf of our clients.
If you believe you experienced workplace retaliation, contact our experienced Los Angeles employment lawyers today.
We represent clients who have been retaliated against by their employers in Los Angeles, Koreatown, Pasadena, San Bernardino, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, the South Bay and throughout Southern California.