Employment Attorneys Serving Huntington Beach, California
California employees enjoy some of the most protected work environments in the country. Over the last 40 years, our attorneys have represented employees throughout California. Stephen Danz and Associates is proud to ensure that those who discriminate, harass or retaliate are served the penalties they deserve. What makes our firm unique is that our attorneys cover cities in Northern California and Southern California. In Huntington Beach, California, our employment lawyers are highly specialized and handle complex employment lawsuits where private individuals trust us to bring forth their cases in local, state and federal courts.
Protections Against Retaliation
In addition to prohibiting workplace discrimination and harassment, most federal and state employment statutes also prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for taking certain actions, such as opposing apparent violations of these statutes, participating in proceedings to enforce them, or otherwise exercising rights under them. Employees are also protected from retaliation by a host of other statutes designed to encourage employees to report unsafe working conditions, financial malfeasance, violations of law, and gross mismanagement and waste, among other things. It is worth noting that retaliation is the most commonly filed complaint filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). In 2015, the DFEH received a total of 20,505 employment-related complaints, of which 14,043 involved allegations of retaliation (68 percent).
These are the major anti-retaliation and whistleblower statutes that our attorneys have noted:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC §§2000e—2000e–17);
Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (Govt C §§12900–12996);
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (29 USC §§201–219);
Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 (5 USC §2302(b)(8));
California Whistleblower Protection Act (CWPA) (Govt C §§8547–8547.15);
Labor Code §1102.5;
Health and Safety Code §1278.5; and
California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 (Cal-OSHA) (Lab C §§6300–6720).
MAJOR ANTIRETALIATION STATUTES
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee who has opposed “unlawful employer conduct” (i.e., discrimination or harassment) or who has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in an investigation of unlawful employer conduct. Title VII prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee because he or she has engaged in protected activity, i.e., the employee has Opposed any employment practice that is unlawful under Title VII (the “opposition clause”); or made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title VII (the “participation clause”).
Adverse Employment Action – Objective Standard: Materially Adverse to Reasonable Employee
Under Title VII, an employer cannot “discriminate against” an employee or job applicant due to the employee or applicant engaging in protected activity.
Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits an employer from retaliating against any person who has “opposed any practices” prohibited by FEHA or who has filed a complaint or testified or assisted in any proceeding under FEHA.
FEHA’s retaliation provision applies to “employers,” which is defined as “any person regularly employing five or more persons, or any person acting as an agent of an employer.” “Regularly employing” means employing five (5) or more persons for each working day in any 20 consecutive calendar weeks in the current calendar year or preceding calendar year regardless of whether the employee’s worksite is located within or outside of California. Although FEHA prohibits retaliation by “any employer … or person” non-employer individuals such as supervisors and coworkers may not be personally liable for retaliation.
FEHA’s retaliation provision applies to an “employee,” which is defined as “[a]ny individual under the direction and control of an employer under any appointment or contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written.”
Under FEHA, an employee engages in protected activity when he or she:
-Opposes any employment practice prohibited by FEHA (the “opposition clause”);
-Files a complaint or testifies or assists in any proceeding under FEHA (the “participation clause”); or
-Requests accommodation for a disability or a religious belief.
An employee who proves retaliation under Lab C §98.6 is entitled to reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits caused by those acts of the employer. An applicant who proves retaliation is entitled to employment and lost wages and benefits caused by the acts of the prospective employer.
Willful refusal to hire, promote, or restore an employee who has been found eligible for rehiring or promotion by a grievance procedure, arbitration, or hearing authorized by law is a misdemeanor. In addition, an employer who violates Lab C §98.6 is liable for a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per employee for each violation. The civil penalty is awarded to the employee or employees who suffered the violation.