Long Beach Retaliation Lawyers
Even though an employer may not be happy with an employee for reporting a discrimination violation or taking part in a union activity, they are limited on what they can do about it. Employers have the right under California law to fire employees “at will,” which means employees can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all. However, there are exceptions to that, including retaliating against an employee for actions they may have taken against the company.
Protection Against Retaliation
When employers violate a law and are reported, they cannot take any action against the person who reported them, if they are an employee. Employees have a right to report discrimination, to inform the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about unsafe working conditions, the local health department about unsanitary conditions or report other violations of either federal or state laws.
While reports are usually supposed to be anonymous, if an employer finds out who reported them during the course of an investigation, they cannot take any action against the employee. If an employee is retaliated against by an employer, then they can hire a Long Beach retaliation lawyer to seek compensation if they were unlawfully terminated, demoted or kept from being promoted.
A whistleblower, who is sometimes an employee, is someone who informs on a company for violating the law. Whistleblowers are protected by both federal and state laws, but the state laws usually take precedent in most matters. Federal laws would protect whistleblowers who reported an incident of discrimination or harassment. Federal law would also apply if someone was retaliated against by an employer for taking part in an investigation concerning an alleged incident of discrimination or harassment.
In addition to whistleblower protection, employers cannot retaliate against employees who take part in union activities, such as trying to form a union in the workplace or taking part in a strike. They also cannot take action regarding an employee’s political activities or their affiliation. An employer may be able to limit political activities in the workplace, but outside of it, they cannot.
State Laws Against Retaliation
State laws regarding retaliation would prevail in most cases and there are statutes in California that expressly forbid retaliation against employees who report illegal activities or refuse to take part in illegal activities. In addition, there are also laws that protect those that engage in protected activities. These activities, which usually include filing a complaint or testifying about, include hazardous materials used on the job site, worker’s compensation, occupational safety and health, discrimination, and filing a complaint about employee rights with the state Labor Commissioner.
Time Limits for Reporting Retaliation:
These exceptions to the “at will” doctrine are public policy protections that are for the good of all instead for the good of one, as required by the exceptions. While harassment or retaliatory actions by employers can be reported to federal or state agencies, California state law outlines time limits for reporting retaliation to state agencies.
Employees, or former employees as the case may be, have one year to report retaliatory actions to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and California Division or Worker’s Compensation. There is a six-month time limit for reporting actions to the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
Fortunately, there are longer time limits for having a Long Beach retaliation lawyer file a lawsuit against an employer. To file suit for wrongful termination, the suit has to be filed within two years of the retaliatory action. There is also a two-year time limit to file suit for actions taken against a whistleblower by an employer.
Due to the time restrictions, it is important to seek the advice of an attorney as soon as you suspect you are being retaliated against for reports you made to authorities regarding the illegal actions of your employer. You may be able to receive compensation for wages you lost when the actions were taken.