According to federal data, workplace retaliation is alarmingly common in California and across the United States. For instance, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that it received 39,469 charges of retaliation in 2018, which accounted for over 50% of all complaints filed that year.
California employees who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should be aware of discrimination laws concerning the legality of firing a pregnant employee. For example, an employer may illegally attempt to force a pregnant employee to take an unpaid leave of absence or risk losing her job.
While an employer can terminate a worker for many different reasons, workers do have some protections against wrongful termination. For instance, a worker in California cannot be terminated because he or she reported a potentially illegal workplace activity. This is true whether the activity was reported to a state or federal agency or a representative of the company. It is important to point out that the employee must legitimately believe that a violation occurred.
A complaint filed by a former California employee of Wells Fargo Bank has been reinstated by a federal appeals court after a divided ruling. The former employee filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the bank, arguing that she had been subject to discrimination and retaliation as well as violations of the California Family Rights Act. While she was on leave after giving birth to her child, she was fired from her position as a loan officer at the bank.
Tesla is being sued by a former employee who claims he was wrongfully terminated from his position for reporting theft by a co-worker. He further claims that he was subjected to race discrimination. The California-based company has been sued multiple times for discrimination over the last year.
A man who filed multiple claims against Roadrunner Intermodal Services and Central Cal Transportation has amended his complaint to add a count claiming protection under California's whistleblower protection statute. The amended complaint was filed in federal court on March 5.
In December 2017, a jury awarded the former employee of an asbestos abatement and demolition business with a $174,000 settlement after he was retaliated against for reporting improper asbestos removal. California workers will want to know the details of this case so as to better understand what constitutes retaliation and wrongful termination.
Because California is an "at will" employment state, your employer can fire you for any reason except those that are against the law, such as mental or physical disability, pregnancy, race or religion. Clearly, you do have some protections. You cannot be terminated, for example, because of your gender or age. Also, it is unlawful for your employer to fire you because of your political affiliation.