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Can employers retaliate by assigning you a bad parking spot?

Some California workplaces, in the interests of organization and efficiency, assign parking spots to their employees. You might work for a company that has assigned you a parking space that is reasonably close to the company's entrance. Then one day you are suddenly reassigned a spot all the way at the end of the lot. Your parking space seems more appropriate for a recent hire or for people who are being punished for violating company policy. But if you are neither of those, you might feel you are being retaliated against unfairly.

Reporting on discriminatory or illegal behavior in the workplace is a legally protected act. Any workplace that degrades the standing of an employee who blows the whistle on illegal acts by employees or supervisors is guilty of illegal workplace retaliation. An abrupt change in your parking assignment could constitute a retaliatory act if it is without apparent cause.

One way to find out if you have been unfairly treated is to look at the company’s assigned parking policy. If your business has drafted a written policy that spells out how employees are assigned parking spaces, you should check that policy to see if you have violated any part of it that would allow your superiors to assign you an inferior spot. If you have not, you should seek out an explanation for your reassignment. A failure to explain your assigned parking could be a sign of stonewalling.

Additionally, compare your treatment with the treatment of your fellow employees. If you have fellow workers who are in a similar position in the hierarchy of your workplace and have no recent history of infringing on company policy, then you should expect to be treated the same as they are. If your parking spot is demoted and theirs have not, you could have grounds to claim unfair treatment.

A change in your parking assignment could also run afoul of other federal civil rights laws. If you are handicapped, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires a workplace to provide handicapped parking and to allow handicapped persons to park there. If your superiors assign you a non-handicapped spot, your civil rights have been violated and your employer will likely face strong fines.

Please keep in mind this article is not offering you any legal advice. It is written to provide education on the topic of retaliation.

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