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What are some examples of employer retaliation?

As a Los Angeles area worker, you probably already know your employer can terminate your employment for any cause and at any time. What you might not realize is federal law prohibits your boss from retaliating against you and terminating your employment for discriminatory reasons or for exercising certain employment rights

There are many reasons why employers may take retaliative actions against workers. Some of the most common causes involve discrimination complaints, whistleblowing and filing for workers’ compensation. When you are experiencing retaliation, you can take measures to protect yourself and hold your employer liable for using illegal employment actions. Here are a few examples of the different ways employers retaliate against their workers. 

Hostile work environment 

Retaliation can occur in the form of hostility. If you filed a discrimination complaint, your supervisor or boss might act hostile towards you. Keep in mind that your co-workers could also participate in retaliation. They may bully, badmouth, threaten and harass you. They may also try to intimidate you. Their actions can create a hostile work environment and make working there so unpleasant that you decide to quit. 

Withholding advancement 

It is not uncommon for some employers to take measures to keep workers from receiving advancement opportunities. For example, if you file a complaint about illegal employment activity, your employer might retaliate by instructing your supervisors to give you poor performance reviews. Your employer may also stop promoting you and give your promotions to other less qualified individuals. 


Another form of retaliation involves demotions. If you are returning to work after recovery from a work injury, your employer must make reasonable accommodations so you can perform your job. Instead of making the necessary adjustments, you are demoted and eventually fired. Your employer may have retaliated against you for filing for workers’ compensation benefits. 

If you engage in a federally protected employment activity and believe your employer is retaliating, you have options available to help protect your career.

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