Both California and federal employment laws protect workers from misconduct by companies. For example, companies cannot retaliate against workers who report sexual harassment or racial discrimination on the job. They also can’t punish those who report the business to outside regulatory agencies for misconduct.
While the law theoretically protects workers from retaliation, employers sometimes still choose to target those who push back against the status quo or disrupt the culture at the company, however toxic it may be. Some businesses will go so far as to wrongfully terminate an employee who speaks up for themselves or others.
Most companies don’t make their retaliation obvious
If you reported your direct supervisor for sexist statements, human resources won’t tell you when they let you go that your report is why the company doesn’t want to keep you on anymore. The business will instead likely try to fabricate an explanation for their behavior toward you.
You need to be on the lookout for changes in your employment environments after reporting issues to the company that you work for or an outside agency to spot the warning signs of retaliatory punishment.
Companies abuse performance reviews and disciplinary action
A company frustrated with accusations of wrongdoing often won’t immediately take actions that will open it up to even more accusations. Instead, it will likely try to protect its reputation and its bottom line. Still, you will want to keep a close eye on evaluations of your performance and any disciplinary action that you face after speaking up.
If the company’s attitude about your performance has changed or if they start enforcing rules that they never have before, those actions might be steps toward wrongful termination for you. They could also punish you by reducing your hours, demoting you, decreasing your pay or otherwise indirectly punishing you for standing up for yourself.
Keeping your own records about your complaints, communication with the business and any complaints or alleged issues with your performance after you speak up. Those who experience a pattern of retaliatory low reviews and inappropriate discipline that may eventually find themselves escorted out of the business by security. At that point, they may have to push back against the company that has wrongfully terminated them as a form of retaliation.