It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any employee or an applicant, because he/she has “opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice by this title...., or because he has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this title.” 42 USC § 2000e-3(a).
For example, if an employee complained to his or her employer about a supervisor discriminating against him or her because of his or her race, then the employee had a right to report this illegal conduct. As a result, if the employer demotes, discharges, or discriminates against the employee for making the complaint, then the employer may have engaged in illegal activity. Thus, the employer may face legal action for retaliation. This would also be true if a co-worker complained to his or her employer about a supervisor discriminating against a fellow employee because of his or her race.
It is unlawful for an employer “to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to [FLSA], or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding, or has served or is about to serve on an industry committee.” Gov Code § 12940(h).
One of the most common examples of whistleblower retaliation happens when an employee complains to his or her employer about sexual harassment. In many instances, the employer discharges the employee that made the complaint rather than go through the appropriate and necessary protective measures. Most likely, the employer decided to discharge the employee that made the complaint to protect the harassing employee or because the employer thought that this would be the best action/measure to avoid a lawsuit. However, this type of conduct by an employer would likely constitute unlawful termination.
An employee should be able to report illegal activity at the workplace without suffering or fearing retaliation.Contact Us
If you have experienced whistleblower retaliation at your workplace contact our office.