Can I Sue My Employer For Retaliation In California?
By Corey Hanrahan
Can I sue my employer for retaliation in California? Yes. Both federal and state law makes it unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting, or otherwise opposing, prohibited discrimination or harassment. In fact, retaliation claims can be brought to trial even if the employee’s primary claims are dismissed. This is because to prevail on a retaliation claim, you are not required to prove the underlying claim, but only need to show that you had a good faith belief in your underlying claim.
“…assume that during the course of litigation, the court finds that the acts of sexual harassment that you complained of do not rise to the level of sexual harassment under the law. Does that mean that your retaliation claim is also dismissed? No…”
Here is an example. If you make a complaint of sexual harassment at work, you are protected from being terminated for making that complaint. But let’s assume the employer breaks the law and terminates you for making that complaint. Now let’s assume that during the course of litigation, the court finds that the acts of sexual harassment that you complained of do not rise to the level of sexual harassment under the law. Does that mean that your retaliation claim is also dismissed? No. So long as you can prove that you had a good faith belief that the conduct you reported constituted sexual harassment, your complaint of sexual harassment is still protected, and you can still proceed to trial with your retaliation claim.
Employees in California can sue for retaliation where the retaliation is expressly unlawful under state or federal law, or where the retaliation violates fundamental public policy. If you have been subjected to any form of retaliation, or are hesitant to make a complaint of unlawful conduct at work, contact The Hanrahan Firm for a free consultation. We have helped employees all across California with pursuing their rights against retaliation.