Can an employer retaliate for reporting wage and hour violations?

| Mar 24, 2020 | Wage And Hour Laws |

There are numerous state and federal laws that protect employees in the state of California. One example are the laws that protect an employee’s right to fair pay, which includes minimum wage, overtime and proper breaks. 

If an employer violates any of the laws, an employee can, and should, report these violations. As a result, the employee also has protections in place to prevent related retaliation from the employer. 

Types of labor law violations 

According to the State of California Department of Industrial Relations, an employee can file a report for a number of violations. These include 

  • Non-payment of overtime, minimum wage and business expenses 
  • Illegal child labor 
  • Unlicensed contractors 
  • Failure to give meal and rest breaks 
  • Farm labor contractor violations 

All workers can take action against violations, and there will be no questions about immigration status. An employee can file a report online or by mail. If the employee is seeking unpaid wages, he or she can also file a claim for wages. 

Relation protections 

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the employee has protections related to filing a claim, and the employer may not take retaliation measures due to the report. Firing the employee is one type of retaliation, but it is not the only one. Other examples include removing responsibilities, giving unjustified negative evaluations, transferring to less desirable work, work-related threats or threatening deportation. 

If there is retaliation, the employee can file a legal claim. To prove a claim, the employee must show evidence that the employer took adverse action against an employee who participated in a protected activity. There must also be evidence to show that retaliation was the reason the employer took action. Evidence may include close timing between the report and retaliation or written statements that demonstrate retaliation. 


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