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How Are Workers Protected from Employer Retaliation?

Posted on September 12, 2016 Author:

Employer retaliation can happen for several reasons. Perhaps an employee reported sexual harassment, discrimination or other illegal activities, a term known as whistleblowing. Employers may attempt to fire, demote or harass employees for reporting these activities.

Fortunately, employees have federal protections under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act and other laws. In California, it is also illegal to retaliate against employees who are reporting illegal activity or discrimination.

An Example of Workplace Retaliation

Jennifer works at a Los Angeles financial firm that helps investors save money for retirement. Over the course of her employment, Jennifer’s bosses make unwelcome sexual advances. Jennifer gets fed up and files a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC decides Jennifer’s story has merit and they conduct an investigation. Shortly after the EEOC starts interviewing employees at her workplace, Jennifer is fired from her position.

Was this retaliation? That would be up to a court to decide, but it does have the characteristics of a retaliation case. Jennifer was fired for reporting sexual harassment to the EEOC. She was well within her rights to do so.

What Options Are Available After Facing Employer Retaliation?

If you are experiencing circumstances similar to Jennifer’s story, you have options. You could file a claim with the Retaliation Complaint Investigation Unit (RCIU). As the name implies, the RCIU will carry out an investigation. Information obtained from the investigation will be shared with the Labor Commissioner, and if need be, a hearing will be held. Any information uncovered by the RCIU could become extremely useful should you decide to file a lawsuit.

The Los Angeles labor law attorneys at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. can help workers who have been wrongfully terminated.