Can Employees be Fired for Exercising their Rights?

Since the dawn of the Progressive Era in the early 20th Century, employers have resisted government-imposed labor protections for their employees. Employers often rely on employees’ lack of knowledge of the law to prevent them from asserting or even inquiring into their rights. In addition to keeping workers ignorant of labor protections, employers have successfully kept workers afraid of asserting their rights by using retaliatory tactics against employees who seem to be “stirring the pot.” Such retaliation is illegal, as both Federal and California employment laws protect workers from retaliation.

What Exactly is Retaliation?

According to the United States Department of Labor, retaliation occurs if an employer, manager, supervisor, or administrator fires an employee or takes any other type of adverse action against an employee for engaging in protected activity by asserting their labor rights. In addition to termination of the employee, other adverse actions amounting to retaliation could include any action which would discourage a reasonable employee from discussing a potential violation or engaging in other related protected activity. Some examples of retaliation may include firing an employee for discussing overtime requirements with peers or assigning an employee to undesirable duties as a result of their claiming protected medical leave.

How is Retaliation Addressed Under Federal Law

Various federal laws protect workers from different types of employment retaliation, depending on the context of the allegations. Based on the type of retaliation, the relief afforded to employees may vary. Generally, employees can be entitled to additional relief if retaliation was attempted after they have made a complaint. Workers who suffer from retaliation by an employee may have recourse through the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a federal law that determines the minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping requirements nationwide. Workers with a good-faith belief they are pursuing activity protected by the FLSA are protected by retaliation provisions within the Act. A worker who brings a valid FLSA claim may be awarded relief for the initial claim, as well as any retaliation resulting from them bringing forth the claim.

Have You Been Retaliated Against for Asserting Your Rights?

Workers who have asserted certain rights concerning labor standards or discrimination are often the target of retaliation. Businesses punish workers who speak up as a way of deterring others from investigating their rights. If you have been retaliated against, your employer has violated the law, and they are trying to prevent you and other workers from exercising your rights. Retaliation does not need to stand. Employers who have been held accountable for retaliatory tactics are placed on notice that their strategies are unacceptable, and after judgment is rendered against them have little excuse to repeat the behavior. A qualified California employment law attorney from the Nourmand Law Firm can help you determine if you are a victim of retaliation, and we can fight for your initial claim, as well as for additional penalties related to the retaliation against you. Our lawyers have successfully argued all types of California employment law claims, including retaliation. For a free, no-obligation consultation with a California employment law attorney, call 310-553-3600 today.



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