Retaliation isn’t only about termination

Frank S. Clowney III

Unfortunately, California employees who face the prospect of retaliation might refuse to speak up about workplace mistreatment. While there are laws in place to protect employees against retaliation and wrongful termination, retaliation can manifest itself in numerous different ways.

Workers might feel mistreated in many different ways such as discrimination, harassment, wage/hour disputes, improper classification or the continued presence of workplace hazards. While employees understand they have the right to a safe work environment, they might worry that speaking up can lead to negative treatment, being branded as a trouble-maker, or, even worse, termination. This is generally referred to as workplace retaliation and is illegal in California.

What are some examples of workplace retaliation?

It is not uncommon for individuals to automatically assume workplace retaliation and wrongful termination are synonymous, retaliation actually encompasses a larger group of actions, including:

  • Demoted
  • Denied a promotion
  • Relocated to a less-desirable area
  • Moved to a less-desirable shift
  • Transferred to a less-desirable department
  • Given a poor performance review
  • Received an undeserved write-up
  • Negative notes or references added to a personnel file

While these are tangible actions, workers might also feel the effects of retaliation in a less physical manner. A cool, isolated environment might be a product of the worker’s imagination or it might be the result of managers swaying workplace opinion against a so-called trouble-maker. In any event, a worker who feels as if they have been retaliated against should seek legal guidance and the protection of the law. Do not hesitate to ask for help.