Finding the Right Los Angeles Retaliation Defense Lawyer
Employment retaliation allegations are a significant threat to California employers. The state’s employment laws strongly favor employees and employee rights. When employees file retaliation complaints, employers are forced to defend their legitimate employment decisions. Working with the right Los Angeles retaliation defense lawyer can help employers successfully dispute costly and time-consuming retaliation claims.
When Do You Need a Los Angeles Retaliation Defense Lawyer?
California employers are often faced with retaliation claims in response to their business decisions. At what point should an employer consult a retaliation defense attorney? Ideally, employers should work with southern California retaliation defense attorneys before an urgent need for counsel arises.
A skilled workplace retaliation defense lawyer can help you establish clear policies for making and documenting employment decisions throughout your organization. Defending retaliation claims in California is a challenging uphill battle. It is vitally important for an employer to understand the law to be prepared in advance.
What is Protected Activity?
To understand what conduct could be considered retaliatory, employers first must understand what employee activity is protected. The California Department of Industrial Relations defines “protected activity” to mean an employee’s exercise of a right that is protected by law. These rights are set out in California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and various federal equal employment opportunity laws.
Here are some examples of protected employee activities in California:
- Filing a complaint alleging violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
- Participating as a witness in or otherwise cooperating with an investigation of a legal violation.
- Participating in unionization efforts.
- Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing by an employer.
- Making a complaint of safety violations.
- Reporting wage and hour violations.
- Filing a wage complaint under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).
Los Angeles Retaliation Defense Attorneys Can Help You Understand Your Employees’ Protections
The list above is by no means exhaustive. The California Labor Code generally protects employees from being terminated or otherwise retaliated against in violation of public policy. It also specifies these types of protected employee activities that may serve as a basis for a retaliation claim:
- Conduct opposing workplace harassment or discrimination.
- Requests for workplace accommodations based on religious beliefs or a disability.
- Using family leave time according to California law.
- Reporting or refusing to engage in illegal conduct.
- Complaining of workplace discrimination or harassment.
In short, California law takes a very broad view of employee rights. An experienced Los Angeles retaliation defense lawyer can assist your company in identifying potential risks associated with employee protections.
What Employer Actions Constitute Retaliation?
Retaliation is essentially the act of taking an adverse employment action against an employee after that employee has engaged in a protected activity. That sounds fairly simple, and most employers believe they would never take such action.
However, retaliation In the world of retaliation complaints can be in the eye of the beholder. An employee anticipating an adverse employment decision may file a complaint as a peremptory strike. The employer may then fear that a subsequent, legitimate adverse employment decision against the employee will be attacked by a retaliation claim. Defending the employment decision then becomes a battle of evidence and credibility.
What Makes Retaliation Claims Such a Risk?
Several factors make retaliation claims both prolific and risky for California employers.
First, the breadth of opportunity for employees to allege retaliation makes defending these claims incredibly difficult for employers. The pool of potential claimants runs deep because both current and former employees may bring retaliation claims.
Additionally, the list of protected activities is seemingly endless. This is especially true under the Labor Code, which permits employees to oppose an adverse employment action by vaguely alleging that it violates public policy. This opens the door for an ever-widening range of activities to be cast as protected activities.
Employees may even be entitled to legal protection if they were not actually engaging in protected activity. Workers may only need to have a good faith belief that the activity was protected to gain the protection of the law.
The process of investigating retaliation claims and entering orders against California employers also favors employees. For example, as of 2017, the California Labor Commissioner’s Office can investigate retaliation and discrimination claims as part of wage claims or other proceedings. The Commissioner’s Office also has the authority to seek relief on behalf of an employee before the investigation is completed and before any discrimination is found.
Finally, defending a retaliation claim in California can be costly. Aside from the normal time and cost of defending these claims, California employers may also be subject to daily fines for failing to reinstate an employee by court order, punitive damages and the Labor Commissioner’s Office attorneys’ fees if the employer’s decision is ultimately determined to be retaliatory.
A Los Angeles Retaliation Defense Lawyer Can Help Employers Take the First Step
When the stakes are this high, retaliation complaints are best managed by a Southern California large business retaliation defense law firm. California employers that work with experienced counsel can establish thorough policies to guide managers and supervisors and vigorously defend retaliation claims.
The best defense is created before an employee makes a complaint. Thorough documentation is key when defending a retaliation claim. A skilled Los Angeles retaliation defense lawyer understands the documentation needed to withstand unjustified retaliation complaints.
Most retaliation claims allege an employer took adverse action against an employee because the employee legally did something the employer did not like. Employers who document the reasons for employment actions when they arise have a better chance of successfully defending against a retaliation claim in California.
Even with adequate documentation to support an employment decision, employers sometimes need an experienced Los Angeles employer defense attorney to litigate an employee’s claim. An attorney focused on employer defense work has the skills and understanding needed to navigate the administrative and court proceedings needed to decide these fact-sensitive issues.
When You Need a Los Angeles Retaliation Defense Lawyer, Trust the Law Offices of Susan A. Rodriguez, APC
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Susan A. Rodriguez, APC have over 30 years of experience successfully helping employers prevent and defend retaliation claims in Southern California. Their long-standing clients receive valuable assistance with policy-making and training as well as litigation needs. It is their vast experience, favorable results and commitment to open communication that keeps businesses coming back.
When you need a Los Angeles retaliation defense lawyer, Susan A. Rodriguez at the Law Offices of Susan A. Rodriguez, APC will put their knowledge and skills to work for you. Susan’s team can help your supervisors, managers and human resource staff effectively document employee performance and discipline from the start. They are also prepared to resolve employee disputes through litigation or other dispute resolution methods. Call (213) 943-1323, or visit online to schedule an appointment.
355 S. Grand Ave., Ste. 2450
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Office: (213) 943-1323
Cell: (310) 350-9995
4601 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 240
Los Angeles, CA 90071