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I believe my employer is guilty of violation of the Labor Law and want to file a complaint about my employer with law enforcement but I am afraid of getting fired. What are my rights?

Often, employees who want to file complaints with the labor board regarding their working conditions are afraid of retaliation by their employer. This is a valid concern but you must know that the state of California has put laws in place protecting such employees from retaliatory discipline if they report violations of law by their employer. As an employee in the State of California, you have the right to speak to representatives of the office of the California Labor Commissioner or any other government or law enforcement agency about any issues affecting your working conditions. Your employer cannot fire, demote, suspend or discipline you for answering any questions or providing any information to a government agency.

For example, if you file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s office, report health and safety violations of your employer, report discriminatory practices  engaged in by your employer or refuse not to disclose information about your working conditions, you may not be retaliated by your employer.

In addition, an employer may not adopt a policy that prevents employees from disclosing such information to a government or law enforcement agency. This means that your employer cannot fire you or discipline you in any manner if you refuse to sign an agreement not to disclose violations of law committed by your employer.

The retaliatory complaint process can be confusing.  Complaints must be filed within a certain time period and, based on the type of complaint, there are several forms that must be filled out and sent with other documentation to the Labor Commissioner. An employment law attorney can help you get through the complaint process seamlessly by collecting your documentation and filing the paperwork for you in the correct manner. If you believe that you were retaliated against for reporting your employer’s violation of the law, it is important to contact an employment law attorney to determine your best course of action.

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