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Retaliation for a Complaint of Discrimination

Los Angeles Lawyers Advocating for the Rights of Employees

Under both federal and California laws, an employer may not retaliate against an employee who engages in an activity that is protected, such as filing a complaint of discrimination. This is codified in California under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), as well as under various federal anti-discrimination statutes, including Title VII. If you believe that you have suffered from retaliation for filing a complaint of discrimination with HR, filing a charge with the EEOC or the DFEH, or helping others who have complained, you should consult the Los Angeles retaliation attorneys at The Nourmand Law Firm.

Retaliation for a Complaint of Discrimination

Under California law, an employer is not permitted to retaliate against an employee who files a complaint of discrimination under FEHA. In most cases, FEHA provides broader protection to employees than a statute like Title VII does, but both have provisions to deter employers from retaliating against employees for engaging in activity protected under these laws.

Retaliation may consist of many different adverse actions taken against an employee for exercising a protected right. The proper standard for defining adverse employment actions is a materiality test. The allegedly adverse action must have materially affected the terms and conditions of your employment.

In California, it is unlawful for most employers to take adverse actions against employees for complaining about discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, disability or medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex or gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or military or veteran status.

To establish that you suffered from retaliation, you will need to establish that you engaged in the protected activity of filing a discrimination complaint, you were subjected to an adverse employment action and the adverse action was causally linked to your filing of the complaint. The complaint need not be formal to be considered a protected activity. In other words, if you complain to a manager that you want your supervisor to stop sexually harassing you, and then you are shifted to another department with worse pay, this may be retaliation even if you did not file a charge with the DFEH.

The complaint does need to be enough to put your employer on notice about the discriminatory actions that it should be investigating. Moreover, you must reasonably and in good faith believe that the discriminatory actions are unlawful, but you may still recover damages for retaliation in court even if the court determines that those actions were not actually unlawful. For example, you must have a reason to believe that your employer failed to promote you due to your race, but if you file a complaint of racial discrimination that does not ultimately lead to a favorable result, you may still be able to prevail on the retaliation claim.

You may recover various types of damages if you experience retaliation in California, and the nature of the damages may depend on the type of adverse action that was taken against you. For example, if you are terminated because your employer believes that you should not have complained about sexual harassment, you are entitled to the wages that you would have gotten if you were employed until the point in time that you would reasonably be expected to find a different job. Each case has unique facts, and it may be helpful to speak to a knowledgeable attorney about your situation.

Discuss Your Situation With a Retaliation Attorney in Los Angeles

If you have faced retaliation for a complaint of discrimination, our Los Angeles lawyers may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for damages. The Nourmand Law Firm provides skillful legal representation to workers who have been harmed in Beverly Hills, Van Nuys, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Palm Springs, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, and other areas of San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties. Call us at 800-700-WAGE (9243) or contact us through our online form for a free consultation if you need a wrongful termination lawyer or guidance with another employment claim.

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