It can be overwhelming to experience any type of illegal treatment in the workplace. Employers are responsible for respecting the rights of those who work for their companies and establishing practices that adheres to employment laws, but, unfortunately, this does not always happen. Those who speak out about mistreatment they experienced, seek rightful FMLA leave, file a complaint, seek workers’ compensation benefits and more may find that their employers react in a way that is less than favorable.
If you experienced any type of retaliation after exercising your rights, you may have legal options available to you. It is in your interests to know what counts as retaliation and what you can do if you believe you are a victim. There is no place for any type discriminatory treatment or harassment in a California workplace.
Discrimination in the workplace
Retaliation is a form of discriminatory treatment that involves the mistreatment of an employee because that individual asserted his or her rights. Asserting one’s rights is a protected activity, which means it is a violation of federal law to retaliate against someone for doing so. Employees may experience retaliation in the workplace after doing the following:
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Refusing to cooperate with orders that could lead to discrimination
- Cooperating with a harassment investigation
- Resisting sexual advances or protecting someone against them
- Asking an employer for a disability or religious accommodation
- Uncovering discriminatory wage practices
- Reporting harassment or discrimination
- Being a witness in a harassment or discrimination investigation or lawsuit
Retaliation can take many forms. It may include termination, demotion, loss of promotion opportunities, verbal harassment, loss of reputation and more. You may be unsure if what you are experiencing counts as retaliation, which is why it is important to take quick action to protect your interests. You may also benefit from carefully documenting what you experience at work as this could be important evidence in a future claim.
What’s next for you?
If you are experiencing retaliation in your workplace, you do not have to face it alone. There are legal options available to you through which you may be able to hold your employer accountable and make the retaliatory treatment stop. It may be helpful for you to speak with someone who understands the applicable laws and can provide insight into the most appropriate way forward.