Retaliation in the workplace is not new. Unfortunately, it is practiced by employers across industries throughout the United States. In California alone, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received more than 3,800 complaints and 56% of these claims cited workplace retaliation.
While state and federal law protect your rights against workplace discrimination and retaliation, pursuing legal action and getting justice is difficult because you have the burden of proof. In order to prove workplace retaliation, you must have sufficient evidence and be able to present it in a compelling manner.
This article will discuss what type of evidence matters in a retaliation lawsuit and why it is important. We will also explain how an experienced attorney can help you gather evidence and prove your claims.
What Is Workplace Retaliation? What Are Some Key Signs It’s Happening to You?
Before you can prove any wrongdoing or file a complaint against a behavior, it’s important to understand what workplace retaliation is and what it looks like.
Retaliation in the workplace occurs when an employer or coworker takes adverse action against you for engaging in a protected activity, such as reporting discrimination, sexual harassment, or other violations of employment law
. Retaliation can take many forms, and it can either be direct or subtle.
According to state
and federal laws, including California Labor Law and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, workplace retaliation is illegal in any form and employers are prohibited from practicing it.
Signs You Are Being Retaliated Against by Your Employer or Coworkers
It can be difficult to differentiate between regular behavior and retaliation. For example, if your employer demotes you, it could be due to your work performance. However, if it happens just after you file a discrimination complaint, it might be retaliation.
Here are some signs of retaliation at work:
Negative Changes in Job Duties or Responsibilities
If you suddenly find that your job duties have changed or you are being given less desirable tasks, this may be a sign of retaliation. Your employer may be trying to make your work more difficult or trying to push you to quit your job.
Do you find that you are being excluded from meetings, training sessions, events, or other work activities or that your colleagues suddenly ignore you? It could be a clear sign of workplace retaliation. Your employer or coworkers may try to isolate you or make you feel unwelcome at work.
Denial of Promotions or Raises
If your employer has denied advancement opportunities or salary raises that you believe you deserve, this may be another sign of retaliation. Many employers try to punish employees for engaging in a protected activity by holding them back.
For instance, say you asked the human resources department for overtime pay information to uncover potentially discriminatory wages, and then your employer refused to give you a raise you earned.
Increased Scrutiny Against You
Another action that constitutes retaliation is when your employer starts monitoring your work more than other employees for no reason. It may happen after you’ve filed a harassment complaint or asked for medical leave.
Are you experiencing harassment, bullying, or other types of physical/verbal abuse from your employer or coworkers after you participated in a protected activity? These actions also signify workplace retaliation.
These are some tell-tale signs that you are a victim of retaliation in the workplace. If you notice any of them at your job, it’s time to contact a retaliation lawyer in Los Angeles and Orange County.
Read more: Top 8 Signs of Retaliation in the Workplace
At Hershey Law, we provide you with the legal help you need to prove your legal retaliation claim. From determining if you are being retaliated against to gathering evidence and filing a complaint with the right authorities, we will do everything on your behalf.
Call us at 310-929-2190 to schedule a free consultation and speak to one of our skilled retaliation attorneys.
What Are the Key Elements to Prove a Workplace Retaliation Case?
If you filed a complaint after experiencing or witnessing something like employment discrimination or unethical activity, and you believe that you may be the victim of retaliation as a result, you may have a strong claim. However, there are certain legal elements that must be established in order to prove a retaliation case. These elements include:
You Engaged in a Protected Activity
The first key element to prove a retaliation case is establishing that you engaged in a protected activity
according to California employment law. It may be something like reporting religious practice or racial discrimination to your employer, filing a complaint about sexual harassment with a government agency, or participating in an investigation or legal proceeding related to discrimination or alleged harassment.
An Adverse Action Was Taken Against You
The second key element is showing that your employer took adverse action against you in response to your protected activity. Adverse action can include termination, demotion, suspension, a reduction in pay or hours, or other negative actions that affect the terms and conditions of your employment.
A Causal Connection Between the Protected Activity and Adverse Action Exists
It’s important to demonstrate a causal connection between your protected activity and the adverse action taken against you. This means that there must be evidence to show that the adverse action was taken in retaliation for your protected activity rather than for a legitimate business reason.
You Suffered Damages as a Result of the Adverse Action
Finally, you must prove that you suffered damages as a result of the retaliation. The damages can either be economic, such as lost wages or other employment benefits, as well as non-economic, such as emotional distress or damage to your reputation.
You need to gather the right evidence to establish these four elements and then prove a workplace retaliation claim. If you aren’t sure any of these elements exist, you can speak to expert attorneys about your case.
What Evidence Matters in a Retaliation Lawsuit?
Retaliation in the workplace is a sensitive matter and the outcome of a claim depends on the evidence that you present. From the demotion email that you received to a salary slip with unexplained deductions, everything counts when it comes to proving your claims.
Below we’ve compiled a list of evidence that matters in a retaliation lawsuit.
Company Policies and Employee Handbook
The company policies and procedures, listed in an employee handbook, can help establish what actions are considered protected activity and what adverse actions are prohibited. It can help show that the employer’s actions violated their own policies.
For example, if the employer mentions in the handbook that filing pay-related complaints with HR is a protected activity, but then later punishes you for doing so, you can use the handbook as evidence.
Emails, Text Messages, and Voicemails
Any written or verbal forms of communication between you and your employer or among your employer’s management team can be important evidence.
For instance, if there are emails that suggest your employer was looking for reasons to terminate your employment after your protected activity, this could help establish retaliation.
Similarly, text messages or voicemails from a supervisor or manager that indicate verbal or physical abuse in response to the protected activity can be compelling evidence.
Documents can be crucial evidence in a retaliation lawsuit. This can include memos, job descriptions, pay stubs, disciplinary notices, and other work-related documents.
Make sure to gather any written notices that you received from your employer, as they can be important evidence. If the timing of these notices coincides with your protected activity, it may suggest a connection between the protected activity and the adverse action taken against you.
Witnesses are also valuable sources of evidence in a retaliation lawsuit. Their testimony can provide insight into the events surrounding your protected activity and the action the employer took against you.
For example, if your manager verbally harassed you in front of your co-workers, they can be key witnesses in your case and their testimony can help prove your claims.
Employee Performance Review
Another important piece of evidence in a retaliation lawsuit is employee performance reviews, particularly if they show a change in your employer’s attitude toward you following your protected activity.
If you normally receive glowing reviews and have only recently received negative feedback from your manager following a protected activity, they might be used as evidence of retaliation.
» More: Tips for Handling Workplace Retaliation
What to Do If There Is Not Enough Evidence?
To file a lawsuit and prove your claims against the employer, you must produce sufficient evidence. Additionally, evidence will help you establish the four elements required to stand a case of retaliation.
If there isn’t enough evidence, that doesn’t mean you cannot do anything about the wrongdoing.
Here are several steps you can take to try to gather additional evidence:
Keep a detailed record of any interactions you have with your employer, including conversations, emails, instructions, job assignments, and other communications. It helps you establish a timeline of events and identify any patterns of behavior.
Talk to co-workers who may have witnessed the events in question or who may have information that could support your claim. They may be able to provide testimony or evidence that you were not aware existed.
An experienced employment law attorney can review your case and help you identify additional evidence that could support your claim. They can also help you navigate the legal process and increase your chances of success.
Consider Alternative Resolutions
If you do not have enough evidence to support a retaliation lawsuit, you may want to consider alternative resolutions, such as mediation or negotiation. An experienced employment law attorney can help you evaluate your options and determine the best course of action.
Not able to find sufficient evidence for your retaliation claim? Contact Hershey Law and our highly qualified retaliation attorneys will help you find and gather evidence.
Speak to our expert lawyers by calling 310-929-2190.
The Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer for Your Retaliation Claim
A retaliation claim is a complicated matter that should be handled with the right approach so that it doesn’t backfire on you. Lawyers with expertise in labor and retaliation laws know how employers deploy tactics to fend off legal consequences and can help you stay firm throughout the process.
Moreover, lawyers can help calculate the damages you’ve suffered due to the retaliation and help you pursue fair compensation.
Here are some benefits of hiring a lawyer for your retaliation claim:
They Are Experts in Employment Law
An experienced employment law attorney has a deep understanding of the legal framework surrounding your retaliation claim. They can advise you on your rights and obligations under the law, help you evaluate the strength of your claim, and guide you through the legal process.
They Have Access to Resources
Retaliation lawyers in Los Angeles
provide access to a range of resources that can help you build a strong case. This includes expert witnesses, investigators, and other professionals who can gather and present evidence supporting your claim.
They Will Protect Your Rights at All Times
A legal team will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process. Attorneys can also help you avoid legal missteps that could hurt your case, such as missing deadlines or failing to file the correct paperwork.
They Help in Gathering Evidence
Another important benefit of hiring a lawyer for your retaliation claim is that they can help you gather evidence to support your case. A lawyer can use their legal knowledge and resources to help you identify and obtain the evidence you need to build a strong case.
For example, a lawyer can help you with the following:
- Identify Relevant Evidence: They can help you identify the types of evidence that will be most helpful in proving your retaliation claims, such as emails, performance reviews, witness statements, and other documentation related to your employment.
- Collect Evidence: Once you have identified the relevant evidence, legal professionals can help you collect it. This may involve issuing subpoenas for documents, holding depositions, or working with investigators to gather additional information.
- Review Evidence: Attorneys are experts in reviewing the evidence you have gathered to identify gaps or weaknesses in your case. They can also help you determine the most compelling evidence that should be presented in court.
- Present Evidence: In court, a lawyer can present the evidence you have gathered clearly and compellingly by using their legal expertise to highlight the key points of the evidence and argue why it supports your claim.
They Represent You in Court
If your case goes to trial, a lawyer can represent you in court and advocate on your behalf. They can produce evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and argue your case to the judge or jury.
It can be particularly valuable if you are not comfortable representing yourself in court or if you do not have experience with litigation.
They Have Excellent Negotiation Skills
Many retaliation claims are settled through negotiation or mediation rather than going to trial. An experienced employment law attorney can negotiate with your employer or their representatives to achieve a favorable outcome for you.
Lawyers can also advise you on the pros and cons of different settlement options and help you evaluate any offers made by your employer.
They Will Save You Time
When you are going up against a large employer or powerful individual, it can be intimidating and overwhelming. A reputable law firm can help level the playing field by advocating for your rights and ensuring your voice is heard.
Filing a retaliation lawsuit
can be a time-consuming and stressful process, so the attorneys will handle many of the details of your case, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your life. You can also expect the attorneys to provide you with emotional support and guidance throughout the legal process.
They Maximize the Compensation You Receive
If you win your retaliation lawsuit, you may be entitled to compensation for damages such as lost wages, emotional distress, and attorney fees. With a professional retaliation attorney in California handling your case, you can maximize compensation by presenting a strong case and negotiating a fair settlement or winning a favorable verdict.
Seeking Legal Recourse for Employer Retaliation? Get in Touch With Hershey Law
If you have been the victim of adverse employer action, do not endure further hardship – take legal action to obtain the justice and compensation you deserve.
at Hershey Law possess a profound understanding of California labor law and are ready to assist you in substantiating your claim. Our lawyers will work tirelessly and go the extra mile to gather evidence to make a strong case and represent you in court.
Call us at (310) 929-2190
for a free case consultation.