Your supervisor won’t stop telling you that you should go on a date with him, so you file a sexual harassment complaint. Shortly later, you get a scathing employee evaluation even though you’re the hardest worker in your department. Or take this as another example: You see your boss using racial slurs and derogatory remarks against your co-worker, so you stand up for them and tell your boss it’s wrong. Then both the co-worker and you are fired. All of this is just some of the forms that illegal retaliation can take in a San Jose workplace.

Workplace retaliation is revenge an employer takes to try to punish a worker for pointing out bad behavior at the company. In many cases, retaliation is illegal in California and throughout the country.

Laws forbid employers from retaliating against workers for complaining about or opposing illegal activity in the workplace. This protection is included for reporting cases of illegal harassment or discrimination based on protected characteristics, such as sex, race or class other qualities; whistleblowing about safety violations or other illegal labor practices; and pursuing justice for unfair wage practices.

Sadly, some San Jose employers either don’t know or don’t care that retaliation is illegal. The following list is just some of the ways an employer might retaliate against you for blowing the whistle about their unlawful conduct:

  • Terminating, demoting or reassigning you
  • Moving you to a different shift or location
  • Cutting your wages or hours
  • Reprimanding, threatening or bullying you
  • Getting unwarranted negative evaluations
  • Being subjected to a hostile work environment

It’s only considered retaliation if you believe the disciplinary actions the employer takes against you are due to your reporting the illegal activity. If the discipline was called for based on your preexisting violation of your contract, for example, then their unlawful retaliation would be more challenging to prove.

Help for your case

If you believe you’ve been the victim of workplace retaliation, it’s vital you talk to a skilled and sympathetic San Jose attorney with experience in these types of employment law cases. No matter how complex the issue, an attorney can help you understand your legal options and get the fairest treatment possible under California law.