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Civil Litigation Blog Post

Retaliating Against an Employee is Illegal

Federal and California laws prohibit the firing, demotion, harassment or any other adverse treatment against people because they filed a complaint of discrimination with a governmental agency, complained to their employer about discriminatory treatment or assisted in an employment discrimination proceeding. In 2012, there were 37,836 complaints of retaliation filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — more than complaints of any protected class. Although charges of retaliation was not the largest category of complaint in California, there were 4, 454 charges filed in 2012.

What is retaliation?

California outlaws employers, labor unions or employment agencies from taking any adverse action against a person for opposing illegal employment practices or for filing a complaint of employment discrimination. For example, an employee who was terminated shortly after complaining to her boss that she feels that was wrongfully refused a promotion because of her gender may file a complaint of retaliation in addition to her gender discrimination claim. It is noteworthy that the retaliation claim is completely independent from the original discrimination charge.

Filing information

California law establishes that to be liable for California’s employment discrimination law, an employer must have a minimum of five employees. In addition, a complaint of retaliation under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act must be filed within one year of the alleged act.

Retaliation laws

California, like many other states, uses the term retaliation when proscribing employers from taking adverse action against employees who report violations by the employer. California Labor Code prohibits employers from discharging, suspending or disciplining an employee who provides information to a government or law enforcement agency of a violation or noncompliance with a law or regulation. 


Retaliation claims can be complicated and difficult to prove.  With more than 100 years of combined legal experience, the San Jose civil litigation attorneys of Creech, Liebow and Kraus can help you recover what you deserve in retaliation lawsuit.


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Creech Liebow & Kraus
333 West San Carlos Street, Suite 1600
San Jose, California, 95110-2726 USA