There are many people in America, probably including many in California, who have more than a few complaints about their jobs. Those complaints are usually made just to co-workers, or maybe to a spouse when the worker gets home each night. However, there are situations in which serious complaints about illegal practices committed by an employer need to be listened to, especially when, as a result of the complaint, there are allegations of retaliation by the employer against an employee.
What is “retaliation” under employment law? Well, in essence, retaliation occurs when an employer disciplines, reduces pay or even fires an employee who exercised his or her rights to file a complaint about the employer, typically regarding allegations of sexual harassment or discrimination of some type. Employment law protects workers against retaliation by employers.
Most employers will typically have a policy in place that defines how an employee should report a complaint about sexual harassment or discrimination. For example, in a typical situation, the employee will report the incident in question to the human resources department of the company, where the complaint will then be investigated.
Unfortunately, after an employee takes that initial step to report the complaint, things can take a turn for the worse. There may be an immediate defensiveness about the complaint, or management-level employees may work to suppress the fact that a complaint was even made. Workers in California who have concerns about retaliation in the workplace need to know their legal rights in these situations.