Employee RetaliationAccording to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the organization receives about 45 percent of retaliation claims filed by employees. Even more alarming, these are just statistics of employees who choose to report claims of retaliation with the organization. Some employees choose not to report out of fear or frustration. Employer retaliation is common in all occupations. Employer retaliation happens when an employer decides to punish an employee after exercising their rights in the workplace. An example of an employee exercising their rights in the workplace involves reporting an employer for failing to provide a safe working environment, filing a harassment claim against the employer, or participating in an investigation.
Examples of Employer RetaliationSome examples of employer retaliation include:
- Terminating an employee
- Demoting an employee
- Reducing an employee’s pay
- Denying the employee a promotion or pay raise
- Changing an employee’s schedule or position
- Issuing bad performance review
California Laws that Protect Your Rights as a Healthcare WorkerCalifornia has specific laws that apply to healthcare workers. In fact, three are directly related to retaliation for reporting patient care problems.
- Health and Safety Code Section 1278.5
- Business and Professions Code Section 510
- Business and Professions Code Section 2056
Getting Experienced Legal Help in PasadenaRager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers has been fighting employment cases against Kaiser Permanente for over 20 years. Unfortunately, Kaiser Permanente continues to violate employment laws in some circumstances, despite Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers’s successes against them in employment law issues in the past. Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers has helped employees with various claims, including:
- Retaliation after reporting poor patient care or an employment law or safety violation
- Wrongful termination
Elements of RetaliationEmployer retaliation is defined as any adverse action against an employee after the employee has participated in an investigation, filed a grievance, or engaged in some type of action revolving around an unlawful employment practice. When a retaliation claim has been filed against an employer, there are three crucial elements that must be proven. These three elements are a protected activity, an adverse action, and a causal connection.
Protected ActivityProtected activity is an element of a retaliation claim and is described as opposition to any form of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. It could involve an informal complaint to a supervisor, a formal complaint to human resources, or anything in between. Retaliation can also follow for requesting or taking accommodation and/or medical leave.
Adverse ActionAn adverse action is any action that the employer takes after the employee exercises their rights in the workplace. These actions include termination, denial of a promotion, suspension, denial of job benefits, and discipline. Other actions such as threats, reprimands, harassment, and negative evaluations can also be viewed as adverse actions.
Causal ConnectionA causal connection is an element of a retaliation claim where there is proof that an employer took an adverse action against an employee after the employee participated in a protected activity. This proof can either be direct or circumstantial, the fact that the supervisor knew of the protected activity, the length of time between the protected activity, the falsity of the reasons for the adverse employment action, failure to follow the employer’s own policies, and/or similar acts against other employees.
Wrongful TerminationWrongful termination is a form of retaliation where an employee is fired for an illegal reason. Wrongful termination occurs when an employer terminates an employee due to discriminatory practices in the workplace, a violation of public policy, or failure to abide by and follow the company’s own guidelines for termination. Some common examples of wrongful termination include:
- Whistleblower retaliation
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Violations
- Retaliation for reporting understaffing, patient care issues, or being a patient advocate
- Race discrimination
- Sexual harassment
- Wage and hour violations