California employers have the legal right to fire employees at will as they see fit, for any cause or for no cause. However, the law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for certain protected reasons, such as for union activity, filing a workers’ compensation claim, or complaining about discrimination.
The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement provides the following: “Any employee or applicant for employment who believes he or she was discharged or denied employment or otherwise retaliated or discriminated against in violation of any law under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner may file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner by completing and mailing the complaint form (DLSE-205).”
If you were terminated from your job as a result of your employer’s retaliation against you and your employer is challenging your unemployment claim, speak to an attorney straightaway. Your attorney can help you take the necessary steps to protect your rights and secure your benefits.
Ways Employers Retaliate against Employees
In order for a situation to be legally considered as employer retaliation, the adverse action must be rather substantial and it must be unjustified. California stipulates that the following parties are covered under employer retaliation protection law.
- Employees who are filing for workers’ compensation. California’s workers’ compensation retaliation laws are detailed under the California Labor Code § 132a. Specifically, subsection (1) provides: “Any employer who discharges, or threatens to discharge, or in any manner discriminates against any employee because he or she has filed or made known his or her intention to file a claim for compensation with his or her employer.”
- Employees who have complained about discrimination in the workplace, whether they were the victims of the discrimination or witnessed another being discriminated against.
- Employers who blow the whistle on the company’s illegal activities.
- Employees who participate in union activities.
Retaliation May Continue if Seeking Unemployment Benefits
There are two common ways employers can try to retaliate against an employee who has filed for unemployment.
- Challenging the application – Employers may try to say that the worker either quit or was terminated for misconduct. Both of these situations would bar a worker to unemployment. In these cases, the employer will have to produce evidence of your misconduct.
- Sabotage – Another way employers might retaliate is to give undeserved negative references to new potential employers.
Keep in mind, though, that some employers may retaliate against an employee by making their workplace hostile. They may do so to force the employee to quit, therefore denying them unemployment benefits. But California protects employees who fall victim to these tactics. If you quit because your employer’s retaliation was excessive and made your workplace hostile and unpleasant, you may still qualify for unemployment benefits.
If your application for unemployment has been wrongfully denied because your employer is retaliating against you, there is an appeals process you’ll want to begin. Feel free to contact our office for help appealing your case.
Are you the victim of retaliation? Call Hiden, Rott & Oertle.
If you think your employer retaliated against you by firing you and you’re struggling to recover unemployment benefits, contact our office for help. Our unemployment attorneys at Hiden, Rott & Oertle can handle all sorts of retaliation cases and we are deeply passionate about helping wronged employees obtain the benefits to which they are entitled.
Contact us today at 619-296-5884 and set up your free consultation.