There are many different types of work environments in California, and companies have various different types of internal policies. However, despite these different policies, each company must adhere to certain laws that protect all employees. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees based on the employees' race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and other protected classes. Employers also must ensure that their employees are not the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.
However, employers do not always do this, and many employees are the victim of discrimination and harassment. Even employees who are not directly affected may still find these actions inappropriate and illegal. So, these employees may make complaints about these actions or support the employees who are directly affected by the discrimination and harassment.
Employers may not like that these employees are complaining and may retaliate against them for doing so. Many different types of complaints are protected. The employee does not need to make a formal complaint and does not need to specifically reference harassment or discrimination.
Almost all communication made by an employee to the company referencing policies or behavior that is considered discriminatory or harassing is protected. Even if after an investigation, the behavior complained about is found to be legal, the employer is still not allowed to retaliate if the employee had a good faith belief that the behavior was illegal at the time of the complaint.
There are many different types of policies and behaviors that employees must abide by at their employment. Many of these policies are legal, but some may be discriminatory or harassing. These are illegal, and employees who make complaints about them are protected from whistleblower retaliation. If they do experienced retaliation for making complaints, they may want to seek compensation for the damages they suffered.