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3 examples of retaliation in the workplace

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Employment Law

Workplace retaliation is a vice that promotes fear and stifles open communication; it seeks to gag employees and undermine their rights. However, employees in California are protected against such practices through robust legal frameworks that empower them to speak up without fear of reprisal.

Even with the legal protections, retaliation still remains a concern and employees should have a good understanding of the different ways it may manifest in the workplace. Examples of retaliation include the following.


Termination is perhaps the most straightforward example of retaliation in the workplace. It occurs when an employee faces dismissal from their job as a direct response to engaging in protected activities such as reporting illegal behavior, discrimination, harassment or unsafe working conditions. For instance, if you get terminated after filing a workplace harassment complaint despite having a stellar work record and no prior indication of performance issues, it’s likely a retaliatory action aimed at punishing you for speaking up and deterring others from doing the same.


This involves deliberately excluding an employee from important meetings, projects or social activities as a form of punishment for engaging in protected activities or speaking out against wrongdoing. For instance, if you find yourself consistently left out of meetings or important email chains related to projects you are involved in following your complaint about discriminatory practices within the company, it could be a retaliatory tactic aimed at isolating you and diminishing your influence within the organization.

Negative performance evaluations

If you start receiving consistently negative performance evaluations or unjustified criticism from your supervisor or management after speaking out against workplace issues, it could be a form of retaliation. Despite your actual job performance and previous positive feedback, suddenly being criticized or rated poorly may indicate that your employer is attempting to discredit you in retaliation for your actions.

If you experience retaliation in the workplace, you may have grounds for legal action under California’s employment laws which protect employees from retaliation for engaging in protected activities. Contact our firm for more information and we’ll help you get started on your case.