Many people employed in California witness violations or abuse on the job. However, a significant percentage of them never speak out about what they experienced. To help encourage workers to call attention to wrongdoing they witness at work, the state is thinking about establishing a retaliation hardship fund.
Per CalMatters, studies show that two in five people working in California have experienced or witnessed some type of work-related abuse or violation during their careers. Yet, less than 10% of them make formal complaints after doing so.
Why workers fear speaking out
A major reason many people employed in California never come forward about violations or abuse they see or experience is because about half of all who do experience work-related retaliation sometime after. Retaliation takes on various forms. It might involve an employer docking a worker’s pay, demoting that worker or subjecting him or her to verbal harassment or abuse, among other examples.
What California might do to fix the problem
California is mulling creating a retaliation hardship fund that would provide financial help to employees whose employers retaliate against them after they speak out. The hope is that such a fund would make workers feel more comfortable exercising their rights and give them peace of mind that their finances or families would not suffer if they decided to call attention to what was going on in their places of employment.
Research shows that people working in California overwhelmingly support the idea of creating a retaliation hardship fund. More than 90% of California workers surveyed voiced their support for the idea, and two-thirds said that such a fund would make them more apt to speak out about wrongdoing.