Some employees may hesitate to contact an employment attorney about workers’ rights in San Jose, CA, because they fear retaliation from their employers. Employers are legally prohibited from engaging in acts of retaliation against covered employees who participate in protected activities. Since employment law can be quite complex, it’s advisable to consult an attorney to determine whether retaliatory acts may have occurred.
Identifying Workplace Retaliation
Under federal employment law, illegal workplace retaliation is defined as the adverse action of an employer, employment agency, or labor organization against a covered individual because that individual engaged in a protected activity. These adverse actions include those that try to prevent someone from opposing a discriminatory act, unjustified negative performance evaluations or work references, increased surveillance, and threats that may affect employment. Protected activities include the opposition of a practice that is believed to be unlawful discrimination under federal or California employment law. For example, employees have the legal right to refuse to obey a directive that is reasonably believed to be discriminatory. Employees also have the right to participate in an employment discrimination proceeding, such as serving as a witness in litigation or filing a complaint.
Documenting the Evidence
It’s important for all employees to keep careful records of their employment, even if they have not experienced any adverse actions. When suspected adverse actions do occur, it may be easier to substantiate the claim if documented evidence exists. For example, you should keep all records (correspondence, performance reviews, etc.) that indicate your employer was satisfied or dissatisfied with your work. If your employer suddenly tries to claim that your work is not satisfactory after you filed a complaint, then your records of positive feedback in the past may prove invaluable. If any problems do occur, keep a log that details the incidents, the parties involved, and the dates on which they occurred.
Discussing Your Concerns
If you feel you may be the target of workplace retaliation, you can consult your employer’s human resources representative to try to get an explanation for the problem. If the explanation does not make sense or an explanation is not forthcoming, it’s time to make an appointment with an employment attorney.