What is Illegal Retaliation?
Under California law it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for opposing or complaining about sexual harassment. It is also illegal to retaliate based upon an employee's opposition to harassment or discrimination based on other protected categories, including, but not limited to, race ancestry, national origin, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability (including HIV/AIDS diagnosis), marital status, age (40 and over), medical condition (cancer and genetic characteristics), refusal of family care leave, refusal of leave for an employee's serious, health condition, denial of pregnancy disability leave, retaliation for reporting patient abuse in tax supported institutions.
Usually, the employee will need to show that a legally protected basis was a "motivating factor" for the termination or other adverse employment action.
Retaliation may come in many forms, including but not limited to: having workplace rules and policies being applied to the protected employee more stringently than others, being verbally abused or ridiculed, being improperly "written up" without justification, being wrongfully terminated, demoted, or denied new opportunities, being isolated from others that the employee previously normally worked with, or having normal duties removed from the employee's normal responsibilities. There are many other forms of retaliation.
Retaliation may also be illegal under Federal law, but is beyond the scope of this discussion. Please consult an attorney for further information.