Employment Retaliation

Retaliation laws in California, also known as whistleblower statutes, make it illegal for employers to retaliate (or to take revenge) against employees by firing, demoting, and suspending them for engaging in a protected activity under the law (i.e., for taking certain actions—see below). These laws are not designed to protect individuals from their employers based on their race, age, disability, etc. (like in discrimination laws).


What is a Protected Activity in California?

A protected activity is complaining about something that is protected by law. Examples of employees engaging in protected activities are:

  • Filing a discrimination or harassment lawsuit or administrative claim
  • Participating, supporting, and/or testifying as witness for an employee who files a lawsuit or an administrative claim
  • Complaining about something that is illegal such as wage & hour violations, discrimination, harassment, safety in the workplace, unlawful smoking in the workplace, etc.
  • Requesting a reasonable accommodation because of religion or a disability

This means that your California employer cannot retaliate against you for complaining about employment violations or for filing a lawsuit for something illegal. In order to prove retaliation in California, the employee (plaintiff) must prove that:


  1. The employee has engaged in a protected activity (for example, complained about being discriminated against or brought a lawsuit against the employer)
  2. The employer has taken an adverse employment action against the employee (fired, suspended, or demoted the employee)
  3. The employee’s protected activity was a motivating reason for the employer’s decision to take an adverse action against the employee
  4. The employee was harmed (physically, mentally, or financially)
  5. The employer’s retaliatory conduct was a substantial factor in causing the employee’s harm

If you have been retaliated against because you complained about something illegal at work, or because you filed a lawsuit or an administrative claim, or because you helped a co-worker to do so, you can sue your employer for retaliation and can potentially get money compensation.  DBY Law will work aggressively towards finding all the facts and achieving the best results possible to get you what you deserve. Retaliation at the workplace in California is common and employees need an advocate to stand up for them. Let DBY Law help you get justice and money compensation for what you deserve. Call the firm at (213) 316-8844 today for a free consultation.