San Francisco Retaliation Attorneys

The retaliation attorneys at Minnis & Smallets help employees who have been subjected to retaliation after making or participating in an employment discrimination claim.

Federal and state laws prohibit retaliation against employees who complain about employment discrimination, harassment, or other activities protected by employment laws. Retaliation may consist of unlawful termination, demotion, abusive treatment, or other unfair actions.

The same laws protect employees who assist other employees in pursuing employment discrimination claims. Retaliating against an employee for pursuing a claim of employment discrimination or harassment or for assisting another employee who has been subjected to discrimination pursue a complaint is unlawful.

Employees are protected from retaliation even if employment discrimination cannot be proven, so long as they have a reasonable belief that it occurred. If the employer took any adverse action against an employee for making or participating in a claim of discrimination or harassment, then the employee who was subjected to retaliation may be entitled to a remedy.

What concerns can an employee raise and be protected from retaliation?

A number of laws prohibit retaliation against employees for engaging in protected activity. Those laws protect employees who make discrimination claims due to race, sex or gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, or membership in any other protected class. Those laws also protect employees who complain about harassment or a hostile work environment. Employees, however, are not protected from retaliation if they are not reporting unlawful conduct.

Protected activities covered by employment discrimination laws include:

  • Making a verbal or written complaint of discrimination or harassment to an employer, including to a supervisor or to human resources
  • Filing a discrimination complaint with a state or federal agency
  • Filing a discrimination lawsuit in court
  • Resisting or rejecting unwelcome sexual advances
  • Testifying as a witness in an employment discrimination proceeding
  • Answering an investigator’s questions about employment discrimination
  • Looking into wage discrimination by asking co-workers about their salaries
  • Refusing an employer’s request to discriminate against an employee

Other employment laws prohibit retaliation against employees who request benefits that the law ensures. For example, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee simply because the employee requests:

  • Medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act
  • An accommodation of a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act or under state law
  • An accommodation of a pregnancy under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act or under state law
  • An accommodation of a religious practice under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or under state law

What is unlawful retaliation in the workplace?

Retaliation includes any adverse action taken against an employee for complaining about or supporting another employee’s complaint about discrimination or harassment that violates federal, state, or local anti-discrimination laws. The most common acts of retaliation include:

  • Terminating the employee
  • Harassing the employee
  • Reducing the employee’s hours or pay
  • Assigning the employee to a less desirable location or shift
  • Giving the employee an unfair performance evaluation
  • Subjecting the employee’s work to a higher level of scrutiny
  • Making unreasonable demands upon the employee
  • Threatening to take adverse action against the employee

Some acts of retaliation are obvious, while others are subtle. Any employee who believes that an adverse employment action was taken in retaliation for making or participating in an employment discrimination claim should seek immediate legal advice.

Where can I get legal help?

The lawyers at Minnis & Smallets have a successful history of pursuing compensation on behalf of employees who experienced an unlawful termination or other adverse employment action after they complained of illegal activity. Learn more about your legal rights by calling Minnis & Smallets at 1-415-551-0885. You can also tell us about your situation by submitting our online contact form.


If you are looking for advice or representation, please contact us today using the form below and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.

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