When employees in California go to work, they must complete certain tasks throughout the day. Depending on what company they work for and their job title tasks may vary greatly, but there is an expectation that they will do what the employer asks them to do.
For the most part if the employee wants to keep their job, they will complete those tasks, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Employees do not need to do tasks that are violate the law and are protected if they make complaints about illegal activity.
If employees refuse to do certain tasks or make complaints about other activity, they are generally protected against whistleblower retaliation from their employer.
However, not every employee completely understands the basis for certain decisions made by the company or completely understands the law. So, sometimes certain activity may seem to be discriminatory or harassment, but after an investigation it may be shown that the activity is legal.
This does not necessarily mean that the employer is then allowed to retaliate against the employee for making the complaint. The employee only needs a reasonable good faith belief that the activity they complained about was in fact illegal. So, if the employee had a good faith belief, whether or not the activity was ultimately deemed illegal, they may be entitled to compensation if the employer retaliates against them. This compensation would be the same as any other retaliation claim including back pay, lost benefits, potentially compensation for emotional distress and punitive damages.
Many employees in California are the victims of, or themselves witness, discrimination and harassment at work.
These employees are encouraged to make complaints in these situations and employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for doing so. Experienced attorneys understand this complicated area of law and may be able to guide one through it.