In companies today, there are processes that employees can use in making complaints to address issues in the workplace. This is a great way for employees to express their thoughts and exercise their rights at work. However, some employers who receive complaints and remarks about their company take actions that make things worse for the employee. This set of actions is called retaliation.

Retaliation occurs when a certain individual within a company opposes a complaint filed by an employee. As a result, he takes adverse actions against the complainant to "punish" him for disclosing the information or making the complaint. The following are some actions and activities that are considered retaliation:

  • Bullying – Bullying at work occurs when an employee is being put to shame by another employee, or in some cases, the employer himself. It often creates a hostile work environment for the victim.
  • Verbal or physical harassment and abuse – Cracking jokes about a worker's personal life or physically injuring him is illegal under federal and state labor laws.
  • Taking adverse tangible employment actions – Tangible employment actions include hiring, firing, promotion, demotion, etc. An employee should not be demoted or terminated just because he reported an illegal activity at work.
  • Unfair treatment – Unfair treatment includes any form of discrimination in the workplace. Some employees who experience unfair treatment file complaints, while others just quit their jobs.

These are just some examples retaliatory actions that may be committed against an employee who writes a complaint or report regarding issues in the company. If he can prove that the actions taken against him were the result of his complaint, he has the right to file a retaliation claim against the responsible parties. However, the employee would only be covered by anti-retaliation laws if he has engaged in a protected activity.

Here are some actions that can be considered as protected activity:

  • Reporting about an illegal activity happening at work.
  • Complaining about unfair treatment at work.
  • Refusing a superior's order because it is discriminatory or illegal.
  • Threatening the employer to file a discrimination claim.

If an employee has taken one of these actions, he would be protected from retaliatory actions by his employer or co-employees. If he still experienced such actions, he may seek legal help from a Los Angeles employment lawyer. Given enough evidence and a reliable attorney, he may be able to obtain compensation for his damages.