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Unlawful Retaliation

Trusted Representation Against Unlawful Southern California Employer Retaliation

There is inherent imbalance in power when it comes to employer/employee relationships. Often, the employer takes advantage of this power by pressuring employees not to “make waves,” by filing a claim when they are being mistreated, or for reporting wrongdoing within the organization. The irony is that companies invest so much effort into keeping you from engaging in protected activities, because actually engaging in that protected activity is what flips the power dynamic and provides you with legal protections against retaliation.

At the Law Offices of David M. Boertje, we understand what you’re up against, and we are here to level the playing field, by providing you with zealous, informed, and experienced legal representation to right the wrongs that have been committed against you. You shouldn’t be punished for doing the right thing--and that’s not just a moral truth, it’s also California state law.

California Legal Protection Against Retaliation

If you are experiencing workplace retaliation, you’re not alone. In fact, retaliation is now the most common form of discrimination nation-wide. Reports of unlawful retaliation to California’s Equal Opportunity and Employment commission have increased by over 44.5%. The message is clear: employees don’t have to tolerate unlawful behavior and unfair treatment anymore.

So what exactly does California law protect from retaliation? Any protected activity. In general, this means any activity intended to report, complain, or oppose a practice that the employee or individual believes in good faith to be unlawful under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). For example, harassment and discrimination based on protected status (such as sex, gender, race, national origin, and ethnicity), are all prohibited under FEHA. For this reason, if any employee makes a complaint to a supervisor, manager, or Human Resources, about harassment or discrimination they are experiencing, this is a protected activity. However, it’s important to note that simply making a complaint to Human Resources would not be a protected activity unless it is tied to a FEHA-prohibited behavior.

The Adverse Action Requirement

In addition to the first requirement, that retaliation must be in relation to a protected activity, there must also be a quantifiable adverse action taken against the employee by the employer. Many people assume they don’t have a case if they’re not fired. However, this is not true. The category of adverse employment actions is actually quite large, and includes things like, transfers to less desirable locations, being passed over for promotions, low performance evaluation ratings (which impact an employee’s ability to advance), and demotion or transfer to less desirable roles.

The Causation Requirement

It’s important to understand that it is not enough to show that you engaged in a protected activity and that there was an adverse action taken against you by your employer. You must also show a causal connection (i.e. that your employer retaliated against you because you engaged in the protected activity). An experienced lawyer will know how to establish a strong case demonstrating this causal connection beyond a reasonable doubt.

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This page is not meant to be exhaustive, state and federal law protect against other less common kinds of retaliation as well, for instance those covered under California Labor Code section 1102.5 and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. If you believe you have experienced retaliation, we’re here to help. Contact our offices today, serving San Diego County, and all of greater Southern California. If your California employer is retaliating against you, we will help you get the accountability and compensation that you deserve. We offer free consultations by phone and online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Client Reviews
“Brian is a great lawyer. He is compassionate and kind and truly cares about his clients and their situations. If you are with him, you are in good hands as he will do everything he can to help you!” Jennifer
“We were in a very difficult situation with a car accident. Many attorneys wouldn't take my case. Bryan worked with my family and helped us through a difficult situation. He kept me informed and let my family know how things were progressing. In the unfortunate event I have to call an attorney, I will only call Bryan Mortlock.” Aaron
“David is honest and conscientious. I've known him and worked with David and his staff for several years, and trust him, implicitly. He's also an excellent trial attorney, and truly cares about his clients. Very hard working, and has an excellent support staff. If I ever needed assistance, David is the first person I would call.” Steven
“Mr. Boertje was extremely helpful in one of the most trying times in my life. He was kind, understanding, professional and effective in getting my case resolved. I would highly recommend retaining him. Any time I had questions or concerns, he was very quick to answer and honest about what the outcome might be. I know if I ever had a case again, I would not hesitate to hire him.” Aaron