State and federal laws protect employees from retaliation for complaining about or reporting employment discrimination. The same laws protect employees who assist those who have been or are being subjected to discrimination. An employee in or near San Francisco who has been subjected to retaliation for any of those reasons should consult with the employment discrimination lawyers at San Francisco’s Minnis & Smallets.
Identifying retaliation is the first step in protecting employees who are affected by it. Here is some information that will help employees understand whether or not an employer’s actions might be retaliatory.
Laws that prohibit employment discrimination would not be effective if employers were permitted to discourage employees from reporting discrimination, or to fire them for doing so.
For that reason, federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, sex, disability, age, and religion also prohibit retaliation for engaging in protected activities. California laws that prohibit discrimination on those grounds, as well as on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and marital status, also prohibit retaliating against an employee for engaging in a protected activity.
Protected activities are activities that oppose workplace discrimination or that involve participation in legal proceedings concerning discrimination. To assure that employees can challenge workplace discrimination without fear of reprisal, the law protects employees from retaliation when they:
An act that opposes discrimination is protected if the employee acted in the good-faith belief that the employer engaged in unlawful discrimination. The employee is protected even if that good-faith belief turns out to be mistaken. A discrimination lawyer in San Francisco can help employees understand whether they engaged in protected activities.
Retaliation is any “materially adverse act” that an employer takes because an employee has engaged in a protected activity. An act is “materially adverse” if it might deter a reasonable employee from complaining about discrimination. A retaliatory act can meet that definition even if does not affect an employee’s pay or job status.
Retaliatory acts may or may not be related to work. Examples of work-related retaliatory acts include:
Examples of retaliatory acts that are not related to work include:
The key to deciding whether an action is retaliatory is whether the action (or the threat to take the action) would dissuade a reasonable employee from engaging in a protected activity. When there is doubt as to whether an employer’s action is retaliatory, an employee should seek advice from San Francisco discrimination lawyers.
An employer’s action will probably not be regarded as retaliatory if it is so insignificant or unimportant that it would not deter a reasonable employee from engaging in protected activity. The leading Supreme Court case on retaliation refers to “petty slights, minor annoyances, and simple lack of good manners” as the kind of actions that will not usually support a retaliation claim.
Courts have found that, in specific instances, these actions were too trivial to be considered retaliatory:
Keep in mind, however, that whether an act would likely deter an employee from engaging in a protected activity depends upon all the facts and circumstances. An act that might not be retaliatory in one context might be retaliatory in another. That’s why it is important to seek legal advice from an employment lawyer in San Francisco before deciding whether the law would view an employer’s conduct as retaliatory.
Employers rarely say “I am giving you a poor performance review because you filed a discrimination claim against my business.” For that reason, retaliation is not always obvious. Employees should be concerned, however, if their employers’ treatment of them because notably more negative after the employee’s protected activity. Suspicious timing can be considered evidence of retaliation.
When an employee is concerned that he or she has been subjected to retaliation, a San Francisco discrimination attorney can help the employee decide whether the situation merits legal action or further investigation. To have discrimination lawyers in San Francisco review your potential retaliation claim, make an appointment with Minnis & Smallets by calling 1-415-551-0885. You can also share your concerns with us 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.
Attorney Advertising. This information is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Past results and testimonials are not a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of the outcome of your case, and should not be construed as such. Past results cannot guarantee future performance. Any result in a single case is not meant to create an expectation of similar results in future matters because each case involves many different factors, therefore, results will differ on a case-by-case basis. By providing certain contact information herein, you are expressly authorizing the recipient of this message to contact you via the methods of communication provided.