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Employment Law & Litigation


What is Retaliation?


Unlike discrimination, which occurs when an employer takes action based on your personal characteristics (such as race, gender, age, etc.), retaliation occurs when an adverse employment action is based on your participation in a protected activity.  As a matter of policy, the law wants to protect employees who speak out against illegal conduct in the workplace.  That is why employees are protected for "blowing the whistle" on unscrupulous activity.

Examples of Illegal Retaliation:

If you have been harassed, terminated, demoted, reprimanded, or otherwise adversely affected for participating in any of the following protected activities, then you may have a claim for retaliation:

  • You refused to do something illegal for your employer, such as:

    • Refusing to falsify your company's financial documents,

    • Refusing to illegally dump toxic waste,

    • Refusing to ignore proper procedures in the medical profession, or

    • Refusing to fraudulently mislead customers;

  • You spoke out, reported, or opposed unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace;

  • You spoke out, reported, opposed, or complained about your employer's unlawful wage practices, such as:

    • Failure to pay overtime,​

    • Failure to pay minimum wage,

    • Failure to provide meal or rest breaks, or

    • Misclassification of employees;

  • You were injured on the job and/or filed a worker's compensation claim;

  • You took or applied for Family leave or Medical leave;

  • You attended jury duty;

  • You took leave to serve in the military; or

  • You reported or opposed the employer's violation of state, federal, or local laws or regulations.

These are just a few of the most common examples.  Under California law, it is illegal for "any employer, labor organization, employment agency, or person to discharge, expel, or otherwise discriminate against any person because the person has opposed any practices forbidden under this part or because the person has filed a complaint, testified, or assisted in any proceeding under this part."  [Cal. Govt. Code section 12940(h).]  Keep in mind that you do not have to be fired to have a claim for retaliation.  Any form of retaliation is illegal if it relates to your participation in a protected activity.

Contact a San Diego Employment Lawyer Today


Contact the Law Office of Zachary S. Schumacher to learn more about your rights and remedies under the law.  The initial consultation is always free and will remain confidential.  Many of our cases can be handled for little or no cost upfront, and we regularly take cases on a contingency basis, which means we get our attorney's fees as a percentage of the recovery when we win the case at trial or settlement.  




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