Employees in California are protected against many actions by their employers. Employers cannot discriminate against employees for various protected reasons such as their age, disability, race, religion, gender and many other reasons. They are also protected against sexual harassment and hostile work environments. Employers must also follow wage and hour laws ensuring that employees are paid appropriately for all of the hours that they work for the employer.
If an employer violates any of these rights, they could be held accountable and be required to compensate the victim of the violations.
However, in order to hold an employer accountable, employees must speak up and make charges against the company or initiate internal complaints in an attempt to have the employer rectify the situation. It is important that employees feel free to make these complaints, though, so whistleblower retaliation laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees.
There are a couple of different types of retaliation, both of which are illegal. One is for participation, which includes initiating a charge or testifying or participating in an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by the employer.
The other type of retaliation which is prohibited is retaliation against employees who oppose illegal actions of the employer. To be protected in this instance, the employee must have a reasonable belief the employer's actions are in fact prohibited and he or she must oppose the action in a reasonable manner.
There are many employers in California and even more employees. Despite the disparity in the numbers, the employers tend to have more of the control. So, there are many laws in place to protect these employees and if an employee attempts to protect their rights, the employer cannot retaliate against the employee. If they do the employee could be entitled to compensation for the damages caused by the retaliation. Experienced attorneys understand these laws and may be a useful resource.