How can I prove workplace retaliation?

Under California law, a worker may have grounds for a retaliation claim if their employer punishes them for engaging in certain activities that are protected by law. To prove you suffered unlawful retaliation in the workplace you must have evidence of the following:

  • You took part in a protected activity, such as reporting unlawful activity to your employer, manager, human resources, or a government authority. Some examples of protected activities include filing a wage or hour claim, reporting safety violations to authorities, requesting accommodations for a disability or complaining about discrimination at work.
  • Your employer took an adverse employment action against you, such as terminating your employment in retaliation.
  • Your participation in the protected activity was the main reason your employer retaliated against you.
  • You suffered damages because of your employer’s retaliatory actions. Damages may include loss of income if you were fired, or emotional distress.

To have a good a case for workplace retaliation, the employee must show the employer took action against them because of the protected activity. Timing is an important factor when showing a direct correlation between your actions and your employer’s retaliatory conduct. For example, you are more likely to have a valid retaliation claim if you were fired soon after you reported an incident of workplace sexual harassment to your supervisor. Your claim will also be better if you can show the employer fired you for no reason, or a false reason, shortly after you reported something illegal, or another protected activity.

Several types of evidence can help prove workplace retaliation. Be sure to collect all performance reviews, paystubs, emails and other documents that support your claim. If you have documents showing that you engaged in the protected activity, it will help your case by making it hard for the employer to deny it.

Proving that your employer retaliated against you can be difficult. An experienced San Francisco employment lawyer can evaluate your claim and help you determine whether you have grounds for legal action against your employer. McCormack Law Firm is equipped to handle all kinds of retaliation cases.

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