Los Angeles Employment Defense Lawyer for Retaliation Lawsuits

If an employee claims you retaliated against him or her for exercising protected rights, such as filing a wage and hour claim, whistleblowing, or bringing a charge of discrimination, your business is at risk of expensive and time-consuming legal proceedings. In many instances, retaliation lawsuits are successful because a company is not sure how to respond to an employee’s complaint and also protect the company’s interests. It is vital to call experienced Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney Ben Mehdian, who has many years of experience achieving best results for companies facing employment and business litigation. He can develop a sophisticated strategy for your company’s defense.

Defense Against Charges of Retaliation

In California, the Department of Industrial Relations defines protected activity as any exercise of a right protected by law. Protected activities include participating as a witness in investigation of a legal violation, whistleblowing, making a complaint of safety violations, filing a complaint that alleges violation of the law, reporting a wage and hour violation, or filing a wage complaint under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).

Major federal and state workplace anti-discrimination laws include provisions intended to keep employers from penalizing their employees for engaging in what’s called “protected activity.” Federal laws that prohibit retaliation include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). These are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is the state workplace discrimination law. Like the federal antidiscrimination laws, it forbids workplace retaliation when an employee reports legal violations, opposes job discrimination or workplace harassment investigation, or requests reasonable accommodations for a disability or religious belief. Importantly, FEHA also protects against retaliation if an employee sues for discrimination.

To show retaliation, a plaintiff in Los Angeles must show:

  • he or she was engaged in protected activity,
  • the company subjected him or her to an adverse employment action,
  • there was a causal link between the plaintiff’s protected activity and the employer’s action taken against him or her.

Companies should be aware that even when an employee’s claim is not successful with regard to a primary complaint of discrimination or a wage and hour violation, their retaliation claim may be successful. It is wise to consult a knowledgeable employment defense lawyer before taking an adverse action against an employee who has made a complaint.

What is Retaliation?

Many companies don’t realize that how they respond to an employee’s complaint or charge can give rise to further legal action by an employee’s attorney. Termination is not the only retaliatory action that can result in a company’s liability. Adverse employment actions include any actions taken by an employer that materially affect the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. In addition to termination, adverse employment actions can include a reduction of benefits, a reduction in work hours, salary decreases, undeserved performance reviews, or demotion.

Reasonable Good Faith Opposition

You should not take a negative action against an employee who opposes an activity that he or she reasonably, in good faith, believes is illegal. For example, if an employee believes that you have committed a legal violation and reports that violation to an administrative agency, you will put the company at risk by firing that employee or demoting him or her. In that delicate situation, you must seek advice from a seasoned employment defense lawyer.

Consult an Experienced Los Angeles Retaliation Lawyer

When you are looking for ways to minimize legal exposure and mitigate financial harm to your business, it is important to keep in mind that an employee’s retaliation lawsuit could be successful even if his or her discrimination or wage and hour lawsuit is not. Call the seasoned Los Angeles employment defense attorney Ben Mehdian of Mehdian Law, APC at (844) 463-4342 or (310) 889-0706 or contact us about your concerns to schedule a consultation once you realize your business is at risk of being sued.

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