Understanding FEHA Retaliation in California

In the State of California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) operates as a safeguard for employees against unfair treatment in the workplace, particularly in cases of retaliation from employers. Retaliation often follows after an employee exercises their rights under FEHA, such as reporting harassment or discrimination. This article dives into the variation of FEHA retaliation, illuminating the types, indicators, and steps you could take to address such issues.

Recognizing FEHA Retaliation

Retaliation under FEHA occurs when employers take adverse action against employees who:

  1. Oppose workplace harassment, discrimination, or the employer’s failure to grant required pregnancy/family leave.
  2. File complaints concerning harassment or discrimination.
  3. Participate in FEHA proceedings, either by testifying or assisting.
  4. Request workplace accommodations due to religious beliefs or disabilities​.

Potential Indicators of Retaliation

While retaliation can be overt, it often manifests through subtle actions by employers. Key indicators might include:

  • Unwarranted demotions.
  • Unjustified negative performance evaluations.
  • Reduction in pay without a clear reason.
  • Less favorable work assignments or a sudden change in job duties​.

Legal Protections Under FEHA

Under FEHA, retaliation is considered an unlawful employment practice. The Act disallows employers from discriminating against or terminating employees based on race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, or gender identity, among others​​.

Employers are barred from retaliating against employees who file a FEHA complaint or assist a colleague in filing one. Also, employers cannot retaliate against employees who voice opposition to actions that violate the FEHA Act. Interestingly, in most cases, individual supervisors can’t be held liable for retaliation under FEHA, although the corporate entity could face punitive damages if its officers, directors, or managing agents engage in retaliation, discrimination, or harassment​.

What To Do If You Face Retaliation

If you suspect you’ve been a victim of retaliation, the following steps are advisable:

  1. Document Everything: Maintain a record of all incidents, conversations, and actions that you believe constitute retaliation.
  2. Report Internally: Notify your supervisor or the Human Resources department about the retaliation.
  3. File a Complaint: If the internal resolution doesn’t work, you may file a complaint with the California Civil Rights Department.
  4. Seek Legal Counsel: You can file a FEHA wrongful termination or retaliation lawsuit against your employer​.

Reaching Out For Legal Help

If you believe you’ve been unfairly retaliated against in your workplace under the FEHA, the Los Angeles employer retaliation lawyers at Moore Ruddell LLP are here to assist. With our dedication to safeguarding employee rights, we offer free consultations to discuss your situation and provide guidance on the best course of action. Contact us today to explore your legal options and ensure your rights are well-protected.

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