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Many labor and employment laws give employees numerous rights regarding compensation, vacation time, family and medical leave, breaks, and more. If your employer violates your rights in any capacity, you should be able to stand up and seek legal relief provided under the law, which is often back pay and other damages.

The process of seeking relief often begins by complaining to your employer or a government agency about the violation. In some situations, your employer may not have realized the violation, and they may fix the problem as soon as they can voluntarily. Other employers may deny the violation, and you may have to escalate the matter. Unfortunately, some employees who make complaints of labor code violations experienced retaliation from their employer.

What is Workplace Retaliation?

Retaliation can take many different forms, as it can manifest as any type of adverse employment action that takes place in response to an employee exercising a legal right. For example, if you believe your employer denied you overtime pay and you complain to your supervisor, retaliation may involve one or more of the following:

  1. Reduction in work hours
  2. Transfer to less desirable shifts
  3. Transfer to less desirable job duties or assignment
  4. Harassment at work
  5. Demotion
  6. Pay reduction
  7. Denial of a promotion or pay increase that you deserved
  8. Termination

If you experienced any type of adverse employment action after you made a complaint about a possible violation of your rights, you should consult with a California employment law attorney as soon as possible.


Recovering after Unlawful Retaliation

The same laws that protect your rights at an employee also protect you from retaliation if you try to uphold your rights. This means that you may also take action against your employer to recover for any losses you incurred due to the retaliation. Retaliation claims are rarely simple, however, as your employer will likely refuse to admit that any retaliation occurred.

Instead, most employers will give another pretextual reason for the adverse employment action that occurred. For example:

  1. You complain to your supervisor that you were denied rest breaks and forced to work during your lunch break
  2. You get transferred to a different job site that is farther away with less desirable work duties the next day
  3. You claim that the transfer was retaliatory due to your complaint
  4. Your employer claims the transfer was because you were not getting along with your supervisor

If you did not have any problems with your supervisor before your complaint, their excuse for your transfer is likely pretextual. It will be up to you, however, to prove the pretext to the court, as well as the true reason why you were transferred. It is critical to have the right legal representation in a retaliation case.

Learn How a California Employment Law Attorney Can Help

At the Mara Law Firm, we not only help clients seek damages and back pay for labor law violations, but we also stand up for their rights to be free from unlawful retaliation by an employer due to exercising their lawful rights. Our California employment law attorneys stand up to all types of employers – large and small – and we can advise you whether we might be able to help in your situation. Call (619) 234-2833 or contact us online to discuss a possible case today.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney David Mara who has more than 20 years of legal experience in employment law.

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