California Employment Law
California Employment Law Questions Answered by Legal Experts
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First, let me say that I am terribly sorry to hear that you are in this situation. It is a shame when an employer does something without legitimacy, especially when such treatment is quite frankly wrong. To file a labor law action for workplace intimidation with the DFEH or EEOC you would need to point to a protected category as the reason for the treatment. Some of the protected categories recognized by California courts would be if the intimidation was based on your age (over 40), gender, race, religion, genetic information, pregnancy, national origin, creed, or disability. Other types of treatment, while wrong, may not be unlawful as courts have routinely held that other types of harassment and intimidation are not actionable. So, if you want to be protected from retaliation for making a complaint, the best way to do this is to specifically reference once of the protected categories. You can put something in writing, sent certified, return receipt, specifically stating, "discrimination based on race." (race can be any of the protected categories. You could also file a claim directly with the DFEH here, http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Complaints_eCompProc.htm or with the EEOC here:
Or, you could hire an employment attorney to best assist you. If you decide to hire an attorney a great resource is www.Martindale.com. This is a nationwide directory that is useful in finding highly qualified legal specialists in various fields of law. The lawyers in Martindale are not selected because they paid to be included, but rather because they have been rated by other attorneys as qualified experts in their field. Consider consulting with two or three different attorneys willing to take your case prior to selecting the one you feel most comfortable with.
Once you file a claim based on a protected category, or a civil lawsuit based on another cause of action, if you were retaliated against, then you would be able to bring a retaliation claim against the employer. Thus, even if you were fired, you would be able to recover back pay, front pay, economic damage, non-economic damage, emotional damage, pain and suffering, and other compensatory damages necessary to put you back into the place you were at prior to the retaliation.
This protected for retaliation exists both with a labor law action, as well as if you file a civil lawsuit based on your employment, and is known as retaliation based on public policy.
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