Protecting your rights in the workplace.

How To Prove Workplace Retaliation

Workplace retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee for engaging in protected activities, such as reporting illegal conduct, filing a complaint, or asserting their legal rights. Proving retaliation can be challenging, but with careful documentation and strategic action, employees can effectively demonstrate that they have been subjected to unlawful retaliation.

Keep Detailed Records

Gather as much evidence as possible and document any instances of protected activity, such as complaints, reports, or requests for accommodations, along with dates, times, and individuals involved. In addition, the following types of evidence can be critical:

  • Records of Adverse Actions: Keep detailed records of any adverse actions taken by your employer following your protected activity. This may include demotions, reassignments, negative performance evaluations, reductions in pay or hours, denial of promotions or raises, disciplinary actions, or termination.
  • Correspondence and Communications: Save copies of any relevant correspondence or communications with your employer, supervisors, HR department, or colleagues regarding your protected activity and subsequent adverse actions. This may include emails, letters, meeting notes, or memos.
  • Performance Evaluations and Reviews: Performance evaluations, reviews, or feedback provided by your employer before and after the protected activity can help establish a pattern of retaliation. Significant changes in your performance ratings or feedback following the protected activity may indicate retaliation.
  • Previous Disciplinary History: If you have a clean disciplinary record or positive employment history before engaging in protected activity, this can help establish that the adverse actions taken against you were motivated by retaliation rather than legitimate reasons.
  • Employment Policies and Procedures: Review your employer’s policies, procedures, and employee handbook to determine if they have clear guidelines prohibiting retaliation. Any deviations from these policies or failure to follow established procedures may strengthen your case.
  • Expert Opinions: In some cases, expert opinions from professionals in relevant fields, such as HR specialists, psychologists, or medical professionals, may be used to support your claims of retaliation or the impact it has had on you.

Establish Causation

To prove retaliation, you must establish a causal connection between your protected activity and the adverse action taken by your employer. Provide evidence showing that the adverse action occurred shortly after you engaged in protected activity, demonstrating a direct link between the two events.

Seek Witness Testimony

If possible, gather witness testimony from colleagues or supervisors who can corroborate your claims of retaliation. Witness testimony can provide additional support for your case and strengthen your credibility.

Consult an Employment Lawyer

Consider seeking guidance from an experienced Los Angeles workplace retaliation lawyer. They can review the details of your situation, assess the strength of your case, and provide skilled advice on the best course of action to protect your rights.

File a Complaint

If you believe you have been subjected to retaliation, file a complaint with the appropriate government agency, such as the Civil Rights Department (CRD) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These agencies investigate claims of retaliation and may take enforcement action on your behalf or issue you a right to sue.

If internal or agency investigations do not resolve the issue, you may have grounds to pursue legal action against your employer. Your employment attorney in Los Angeles can help you file a lawsuit alleging retaliation and seek remedies such as reinstatement, back pay, compensatory damages, and attorney’s fees.