California law strictly protects employees’ rights, making any retaliation for workers’ compensation claims illegal. However, some employers might respond negatively and punish employees for exercising their rights.
Recognizing the signs of retaliation early on allows you to defend your rights and keep your job on track.
Changes in your job duties or position
The California Labor Commisioner’s Office upholds many laws meant to prevent retaliation and discrimination in the workplace. If your responsibilities change suddenly, such as a demotion or a transfer to a less appealing department or location, this shift can signal a deliberate effort by your employer to make your work environment challenging.
Exclusion from vital work events
If you find yourself left out of key meetings, training sessions or team events without a clear reason, you might have reason for concern, especially if you have always attended these events before.
Unexpected negative performance reviews
Receiving unexpected negative performance feedback, especially after consistent positive reviews, can be worrisome. It becomes even more troubling if the reviews lack specific reasons or do not reflect the reality of your work performance.
Sudden reduction in hours or pay
A sudden cut in your work hours or salary, without a clear business justification, can indicate retaliation.
Feeling constantly monitored and critiqued by supervisors or colleagues can suggest a retaliatory motive on their part.
Harassment or intimidation experiences
If bullying, harassment or intimidation from coworkers or superiors increase after your claim, you should take these signs seriously as indicators of retaliation.
Communication barriers with superiors or HR
When superiors or the HR department become less communicative or seem to dodge your concerns, this behavior might hint at a retaliatory atmosphere.
If you think you are facing retaliation, document every incident with care. Keep track of dates, times, the people involved and the nature of each adverse action. Armed with this documentation, you can then seek the right channels to ensure protection of your rights.