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Retaliation: Complaints Alleging Discrimination

Discrimination: An employee may not be discharged (or discriminated against) in retaliation for opposing a practice made illegal under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Nor may an employee be discharged (or discriminated against) in retaliation for filing a complaint, testifying, or assisting in a proceeding under FEHA. FEHA prohibits, among other things, discrimination in employment on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, or sexual orientation. Cal. Gov. Code § 12940.

We recently filed a lawsuit alleging retaliation against an employee for participating in an investigation alleging discrimination against him based on his age. He was passed over for a promotion.  A co-worker later filed a complaint about comments made by the supervisor who made the decision passing over the employee for promotion based on his age.  He learned about the discrimination when he was interviewed by the investigator who was handling the complaint made by his co-worker.  After he objected to the discrimination, the employer punished him by making it very difficult for him to perform his job.  

Complaints alleging discrimination based on pregnancy, sex, disability, sexual orientation, and other protected characteristics are also protected.  Similar protections apply under Federal Law.  The FEHA also protects employees from retaliation for making complaints alleging harassment based on race, sexual harassment, sex and other characteristics.