Retaliation Lawsuits and Cases
Retaliation lawsuits and other cases of discrimination, harassment, whistleblowing and wrongful termination face many challenges in the recent business climate. Often, employers, usually large employers and large corporations, employ arbitration clauses which require an employee to pursue arbitrations instead of lawsuits. Our firm never recommends arbitrations, because they are far more expensive and the arbitration system is skewed towards employers. In this regard, plaintiffs pay one filing fee (between $370 and $1,000) for the complaint, and $60 for each motion heard. The fees are the same even if the court hears and decides ten motions or tries the case for four weeks (other than jury fees). But in private arbitration, the arbitrator is paid by the hour, so an hour hearing costs an hour of fees, usually at least $450/hour.
In regards to retaliation lawsuits, California has some protections for those forced to arbitrate their claims. For example, an employer has to pay the costs of the arbitrator in employment disputes, otherwise the arbitration agreement or arbitration clause in an employment agreement can be deemed unenforceable. However, the conservative US Supreme Court has validated the mandatory arbitration of claims and so many of these claims must go to private arbitration. It is also the firm’s experience that since the arbitrator is a human being, and humans tend to be more favorable to the person paying them (often repeatedly over many arbitrations), bias has the potential to skew the results.
Our firm has successfully had multiple arbitration agreements or clauses deemed unenforceable, but the fact is that an employer with a careful arbitration clause or agreement can usually force the client into a private arbitration.
In retaliation lawsuits, the word retaliation is a word where common meaning is different from the legal meaning. Often, potential clients accurately describe cases in which an employer has retaliated against them over something they said or did. But retaliation in the legal sense requires that the employer retaliate because of illegal reasons, such as for standing up for legal rights based on race, gender, age, sexual orientation, DISABILITY, FILING A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM, religion, etc.
In retaliation cases, an employer or an employer’s manager cannot legally take “adverse employment action” (such as demotion, denial of a promotion for which he/she was qualified, denial of a benefit otherwise available to employees, termination or harassment) against an employee (or an applicant), and may not otherwise “retaliate” against an employee for filing a complaint of discrimination, participating in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposing discrimination in the workplace. Retaliation laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability and genetic information also prohibit retaliation against individuals who oppose unlawful discrimination or participate in an employment discrimination proceeding.
Even where the employee may not be able to prove the underlying discrimination, an employer still cannot retaliate where the employee has a good faith belief that he or she was unlawfully discriminated against.
These retaliation cases are challenging to prove where an employer has stated some other reason for the “adverse employment action”, because it takes a lot of work to prove that the stated reason was “pretextual”, that is, false. These cases are easier to prove the shorter the time that passes between the “adverse employment action” and the retaliation. In some cases, we have been able to prove retaliatory motive even after the passage of months, or even years.
In retaliation lawsuits, other procedural challenges include first making an administrative claim with the EEOC or DFEH within 6 months or a year, before filing a lawsuit. In cases where the work force is unionized, the collective bargaining agreement between the union and employer usually requires the employee to undertake a grievance process through the union before getting the right to make an administrative claim, which itself is a mandatory prerequisite to filing a lawsuit.
We just resolved a case in which a worker had reported safety concerns over a forklift, and a supervisor who required him to ride on it, and then was fired for refusing to ride the forklift. The termination was based on a pretext of “insubordination”, and he lost unemployment benefits as a result. We were able to obtain a significant resolution during negotiations with the employer and the Labor Commissioner. We never give up the fight.
If you have a case and possible lawsuit similar to these, contact Ken Ralidis at 213.251.5480 today to see how he can help you get the compensation you deserve. We have often obtained results for our clients that are 10-25 times what the initial offer was. Don’t just settle for any attorney that may not have the experience, or a big law firm that doesn’t have the time or resources for a case like yours. Reach out to Ken Ralidis for his experience and the personal attention he offers. We can help you win your case!