California has an expansive number of statutes that were implemented to protect employees on such issues as workplace safety, the prompt payment of all wages due and a discrimination free work environment. Fortunately, there are a multitude of anti-retaliation statutes to protect employees from any form of retaliation because they either reported or complained about perceived harassment, discrimination or other workplace problems to their employer and/or a governmental agency. Without these statutory protections, it is quite likely that the mistreatment of employees would be even more rampant throughout California and in fact the entire country. Please read below for several important anti-retaliation statutes that are specifically designed to protect you from unlawful actions by your employer for either exercising and/or standing up for your rights.
Workplace Safety Issues
Fortunately, there are quite a number of statutes that prevent an employer from retaliating against an employee for complaining, either internally or externally to governmental agencies, about issues of workplace safety. For example, Labor Code §6399.7 precludes an employer from retaliating against an employee who complains or testifies about any violation of the Hazardous Substances Information and Training Act. Similarly, Labor Code §§6310 and 6311 protect an employee that complains, testifies or refuses to work in an environment that they reasonably believe violates workplace safety rules or regulations. Finally, Labor Code §232.5 prevents an employer from compelling an employee to waive, in writing, their statutory right to discuss working conditions and/or in any manner precluding them from discussing their working conditions.
Wage & Hour Issues
In addition to workplace safety, California has established quite a number of anti-retaliation statutes for employees who complain or report various wage and hour issues to their employer and/or the governing regulatory agency. For example, California Labor Code §98.6 protects an employee from retaliation for pursuing any type of wage claim before the labor commissioner, threatening to pursue a claim for wages or other benefits before said entity, testifying in a proceeding before the commissioner or complaining to their employer about wage and hour issues. Additionally, an employer may not retaliate if an employee refuses to work hours in excess of those authorized by any industrial wage order or because a potential labor code violation places them in a real and apparent hazard. (California Labor Code §§1198.3 and 6311) Lastly, Labor Code §1102.5 protects an employee from retaliation because they report or are believed to report a violation of state or federal statutes or a federal, state or local rule or regulation. The issue of whether or not these anti-retaliation statutes are applicable and/or give rise to an individual claim by an employee as opposed to the labor commissioner can be complex. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced employment law attorney if you believe that you may have been the victim of any form of retaliation.
Reporting Perceived Discrimination or Harassment
In that several other articles on our site discuss claims under the Fair Employment & Housing Act (“FEHA”), we will not spend a considerable amount of time on such anti-retaliation statutes. However, Government Code §12940[h] does prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee for complaining about perceived harassment or discrimination or for refusing to participate in any conduct that they believe violates FEHA. The perceived discrimination or harassment does not need to be true in order for the employee complained of the conduct to state a claim against their employer. The employee needs only to have a reasonable basis for making the complaint that caused the employer to retaliate.
Pursuing a claim against your employer and/or standing up for your rights at work can be a scary process. You do not have to go it alone as the Perrin Law Group has been dedicated to protecting the rights of all employees for nearly 30 years. Contact us today for your free consultation.