How to Prove Retaliation in the Workplace

Posted by Sessions & Kimball |

Sexual harassment is a serious issue that affects both men and women across all industries. Despite the devastating effects of sexual harassment, victims still hesitate to report it. They may fear that coming forward may result in further retaliation from their employer or colleagues. 

It’s for this reason that many victims do not report harassment or file a charge until the damage has been done. Fortunately, the state of California offers victims of sexual harassment protection under the law. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee who files a report of sexual harassment or discrimination.

What is Retaliation?

Retaliation happens when an employer takes adverse action against an employee for engaging in a protected activity. Protected activity refers to any act of lodging a complaint against the harassment, participating in an investigation, or taking legal action against the harasser or employer. 

Retaliation can manifest in different ways, including demotion, salary reduction, job transfers, negative performance reviews, and termination. If you are experiencing any of these, make a written complaint to the Human Resource department for them to investigate. 

How to Prove Retaliation in the Workplace

Proving a workplace retaliation claim can be a challenge, but with the right evidence and an employment attorney to guide you, you may be able to get the justice you deserve.

Gather Evidence

To prove a workplace retaliation claim, the first step is to gather evidence of employer conduct. This can include emails, memos, witness statements, and any other documentation that supports your claim. This evidence can help establish a pattern of behavior that shows the employer retaliated against you.

Document Damages

Next, it’s important to document any damages suffered as a result of the retaliation. For example, if you were demoted, passed over for a promotion, or fired, you should document those actions and how they impacted you financially and emotionally. You should also make note of any other negative consequences, such as a decrease in job performance, difficulty finding other employment, or damage to your reputation.

Show Evidence of Good Faith Report

Another key component of a workplace retaliation claim is demonstrating that you reported the discriminatory or harassing behavior in good faith. This means that you genuinely believed that the conduct you were reporting was illegal or discriminatory. You will need to provide the name or title of the person or people to whom you reported the issue, as well as the names of any witnesses who can support your claim.

Contact a Lawyer

Gathering this evidence can be overwhelming, so it is recommended that you have an employment attorney by your side. Your Orange County retaliation attorney will help you examine, compile, and organize the available evidence. They will use their knowledge to navigate the legal system and fight for you. Most importantly, they will be able to negotiate a settlement or fight for you in court so you can receive a just outcome.

Retaliation is often subtle, and it is not always easy to identify. As an employee, it is essential to understand your rights and how to protect yourself from workplace retaliation. If you suspect that your employer is retaliating against you, speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.