There are many different laws and regulations that businesses in California must follow. These laws are in place for a variety of reasons, but mainly they are in place to protect the employees, customers, the public in general or the environment. However, it is difficult for the various enforcement agencies to enforce every law because they are not always aware of the violations. The employees of the companies may know of the violations though and the agencies sometimes rely on the employees to report them.
It is usually not in the companies’ best interest to be investigated though or be the defendant in a lawsuit. Therefore, the employers will most likely be upset if one of their employees reports the violation or participates in an investigation. In some instances, they may retaliate against the employee. The retaliation may come in various forms, but one way they may retaliate is to fire the employee.
Retaliation is generally prohibited though. Employers cannot retaliate against employees who report or participate in investigations as stated above, but employees are protected against retaliation in other instances as well. Employers cannot retaliate if an employee resists or prevents sexual harassment from occurring; requests accommodations for a disability or for religious reasons; refuses to do work that is illegal or would result in discrimination; asks salary information to determine if their pay is discriminatory and in other situations involving prohibited activity.
Employees in California are sometimes in the best position to know when the companies they work for are involved in illegal activity. Therefore, to encourage them to come forward, it is illegal for the employer to retaliate against them for doing so. If the employer does retaliate, the employee may have a claim against them and could receive back pay, be reinstated to a previous position and receive other damages depending on the circumstances. Experienced attorneys understand employees’ rights and may be able to help protect them.