What is an adverse employment action?

California law states that an adverse employment action is anything the employer does that “materially and adversely affected the terms, conditions or privileges” of a worker’s employment. The most serious adverse employment actions are firing the employee, or refusing to hire an applicant. Demoting and cutting a worker’s pay, or denying promotion may also seriously affect the employee’s work conditions.

Other types of negative treatment may possibly be considered adverse employment actions under the law, however they are less drastic to the extent they do not cause the sudden loss of income that would result from termination. Such actions are not prohibited by law in and of themselves, and may not form the basis of a strong legal case unless there is other evidence of discrimination or harassment:

  • Transferring an employee to a less-desirable position;
  • Changing an employee’s work shifts;
  • Increasing the level of supervision or surveillance over an employee;
  • Undermining an employee’s work;
  • Assigning a disproportionate amount of work employee when compared to others in the same position;
  • Excluding an employee from team meetings that others in the employee’s position were invited to.

Employers cannot take an adverse employment action against employees based on certain characteristics, including:

  • Race
  • National Origin
  • Color
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation or identity
  • Family status
  • Religion
  • Military status
  • Pregnancy
  • Disability or Medical Condition

An employer is prohibited from considering any of the above when making an employment decision that adversely impacts an employee. If you believe your employer has taken a serious adverse action against you because of your protective class, contact the McCormack Law Firm for a free consultation.

Other Discrimination & Harassment FAQs:

Schedule your free consultation today: 415.925.5161

Client testimonials

This law firm was the only one to answer the phone out of the 15-20 law firms that I called that day. I had a wrongful termination case and Bryan really took the time to listen and understand what happened in my situation, and he knows the law to a T. – Shanic M.

I was owed wages and overtime and my employer refused to pay me. So I hired them to file a lawsuit. Bryan easily understood my very complicated case and I am happy with the results. – Ebi Z.

I didn’t have to pay anything, the firm took the whole risk of managing the case. Through the 14 months, Bryan always kept me updated, was very responsive and patient to questions I had. We achieved a resolution out of court in my favor, making me even happier about the experience. – Peter S.

I can honestly say that my experience with Bryan was all the way positive from day one… We had very high expectations about our case and in the end we got what we hoped for. – Roger J.

I won my trial and I got more than I expected. Everyone in the office is so nice and helpful. Even after everything was finished I could call a few weeks after and ask questions to make sure I was protected and they are more than helpful. – Husain N.

I never had to pay Bryan anything up front, nor was ever pressured to settle early. We ended up settling morning of the trial. Bryan is a really sharp, aggressive, seasoned attorney and knew the law inside and out about whistleblower cases. – Kyle B.