What to look for in proving workplace retaliation
No California worker should be punished for blowing the whistle on discriminatory or harassment practices in the workplace. However, some supervisors and managers resent when an employee calls out bad behavior and will retaliate against that worker. You might find yourself in such a situation where you feel your workplace has retaliated against you, but you fear you case might not be easily proven. Your employer might come up with a cause to justify the demotion, firing, or whatever retalitory act you have suffered.
Still, even with a supposed justification by your employer, it is possible to show that a company has treated you unfairly by examining their policies and their past treatment of other employees in a similar situation as yourself. According to Findlaw, here are some areas you should look for:
Check to see if your employer has a policy against retaliation. Retaliation is already against the law, so the absence of a stated policy would not make retaliation permissible. However, a company policy can spell out specific anti-retaliatory practices that the company forbids. If the company has violated any of these policies in firing you, retaliation can be shown.
If a company has penalized you in a way that you suspect is retaliatory in nature, ask for any documentation that describes why action was taken against you. A manager or supervisor should document their reasons for disciplining employees. Without a written report, a company has nothing but its word for why it took action against you. If you were retaliated against close to the time you complained about a discriminatory act, a court will likely find the company’s actions suspicious.
Disciplinary policies should also be consistently applied. For example, a supervisor may demote you on the grounds that you were late in filing reports. You should check to see how your workplace would normally discipline someone in your position. If, for example, another employee was cited for similar actions as yourself but only received a verbal warning while you were demoted or even fired, then you were judged more severely for no valid reason. Chron.com points out that employers that do not enforce their policies on a consistent basis run the risk of being held legally liable.
These are not the only ways to show retaliation. However, employing these methods can show that a workplace is not holding itself up to its own standards if you suspect they have retaliated against you.