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Employment Lawyers Serving Southern California

Employment Lawyers Serving Southern CaliforniaIt can be unnerving to accuse your employer of wrongdoing. Whether you are filing a complaint with Human Resources or a charge of discrimination with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), it is normal to be worried about how your employer will react. You may be concerned about your career prospects and even whether you will be terminated as a result. In California, retaliation is prohibited under various anti-discrimination and whistleblowing statutes. If you believe that you were subject to retaliation for engaging in a protected activity, you should consult the Orange County retaliation lawyers at the Serendib Law Firm.


Your employer is not permitted to retaliate against you for engaging in any activity protected under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). It is also forbidden from retaliating against you for activities protected under federal anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Other statutes also include provisions prohibiting retaliation for engaging in protected activities, such as California Labor Code Section 1102.5.


Unfortunately, it is common for retaliation to occur in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. FEHA prohibits not only discrimination and harassment based on a protected characteristic but also retaliation for engaging in a protected activity under the statute. Under FEHA, any action taken to oppose employment practices that are illegal under FEHA is a protected activity. Protected activities can include, for example, reporting your coworker’s sexual harassment to Human Resources or your manager. They can also include filing a charge with DFEH or supporting a coworker who is filing a hostile work environment charge with DFEH.

To recover damages for retaliation on your behalf, a retaliation attorney in Orange County will need to show that you engaged in a protected activity, that the defendant acted adversely against you such as by terminating, demoting, or failing to promote you, that your protected activity was a substantial motivating reason for the employer’s decision to take the adverse employment action, that you were harmed, and that the defendant’s adverse action was a substantial factor in causing your harm.

What Counts as Retaliation?

Retaliation includes any adverse employment action taken in response to your engagement in a protected activity. An adverse employment action is anything that negatively affects the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. It includes anything that would discourage a worker from making a complaint in the first place. Such actions include a failure to promote, a demotion, or a transfer to a lower-paying, less prestigious position. Each situation is different, making it important to talk to an experienced attorney.

Importantly, the court does not need to find that discrimination or harassment occurred to find retaliation for reporting it. Your Orange County retaliation attorney will not need to establish discrimination or harassment for you to have protection against retaliation. Instead, if you reasonably believed that your employer’s conduct was unlawful, you can prevail in your retaliation claim even if you did not prevail in a distinct claim for discrimination or harassment. In other words, you must have had a good-faith belief that there was a violation of FEHA.

For example, if you complain in good faith to HR about what you think is sexual harassment, and you are terminated in retaliation for making the complaint, but the court does not believe that the actions at issue rose to the level of sexual harassment, you could still recover damages for retaliation. Often, retaliation is easier to establish than discrimination or harassment is.

Discuss Your Case With an Employment Attorney

If you believe that you were subject to workplace retaliation for engaging in a protected activity, you should consult the employment law attorneys at the Serendib Law Firm. We represent people in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. Call us at 1-800-LAW-8825 (800-529-8825) or contact us via our online form for a consultation with a retaliation lawyer in Orange County.

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"Integrity, competency, and compassion! Dimuth Amaratunga has represented me and counseled me in several matters over the last several years, and each time, I have benefited tremendously from his knowledge, his wisdom and his empathy. He is without a doubt an authority in employment law and personal injury. But most importantly, he has compassion and truly focused on getting the best result for his clients. I am a practicing attorney and I wholeheartedly recommend him and his firm!" David J.