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Court awards police officer $2.5 million in retaliation case

Retaliation against employees happens in every field—including the California law enforcement. Recently, an officer with the Long Beach Police Department reported that he experienced retaliation after raising issue with management practices. He claimed that his supervisors reassigned him to undesirable job duties and withdrew several of his workplace perks. Last week, a jury awarded the officer $2.5 million in damages for his suffering.

Demoted for reporting a violation

The lawsuit revolves around an incident from 2015, when a police sergeant offered a reassignment to a recruit who felt unsafe working in a high-crime neighborhood. The plaintiff complained that the reassignment offer violated Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) procedures. He claims that his supervisors retaliated against him by demoting him to patrol duties and revoking privileges including a private office, computer and cellphone. A grand jury in Long Beach sided with the plaintiff, awarding him $2.5 million in damages.

Retaliation occurs in every field, not just law enforcement

This case indicates a much larger problem. The details of this particular claim are applicable to many other instances of retaliation. The police officer’s case has two common elements of workplace retaliation: A failure to address employee complaints, and reassignment to less-desirable job duties. Other signs include:

  • Negative, inaccurate performance reviews
  • Unflattering job references
  • Sudden and undesirable changes in schedule
  • Wrongful termination

Employees in every industry throughout California may be victim to retaliation. Any workers who believe that their employer is retaliating against them for reporting a violation or participating in an investigation is encouraged to document their situation. Employees should report the retaliation up the chain of command. If this does not end the retaliation, it may be necessary to take other steps like filing a formal complaint or seeking outside legal help.