Filing a wrongful termination claim is a critical step for employees who believe they have been unjustly dismissed from their jobs. This process seeks to hold employers accountable for their actions and to secure justice for the affected individuals. However, the journey doesn’t always conclude with the filing of the claim. In some unfortunate instances, employees may face retaliation from their former employer. Understanding how to handle retaliation effectively is essential to protect one’s rights and maintain the integrity of the original claim.

Recognizing Retaliation

Retaliation can take many forms and can be both direct and indirect. Some common forms of retaliation include:

  1. Negative Job References: After filing a wrongful termination claim, an employee may find that their former employer provides negative job references to prospective employers. This can significantly hinder job search efforts and damage the employee’s professional reputation.
  2. Blacklisting: In some industries, former employers may go as far as to blacklist an employee, making it difficult for them to find new employment. This can involve spreading negative information about the employee within industry circles or directly discouraging other employers from hiring them.
  3. Personal Harassment: Retaliation can also involve personal harassment, which might include defamatory statements, attempts to damage the individual’s reputation, or other actions meant to intimidate or harass the former employee.
  4. Legal Threats: Employers might threaten additional legal action, such as counterclaims or frivolous lawsuits, to intimidate the employee and discourage them from pursuing their wrongful termination claim.
  5. Rehiring Denial: In situations where the employee has been terminated under dubious circumstances and then reinstated, the employer may create a hostile work environment upon their return, pushing the employee to quit voluntarily.

Legal Protections Against Retaliation

Both federal and state laws offer robust protections against retaliation. Understanding these protections is crucial for employees seeking to safeguard their rights after filing a wrongful termination claim.

Federal Protections

At the federal level, several laws protect employees from retaliation:

  1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: This law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who file discrimination complaints, participate in an investigation, or oppose discriminatory practices.
  2. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): Protects employees over the age of 40 from retaliation when they file complaints about age discrimination.
  3. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Prohibits retaliation against employees who file complaints regarding disability discrimination.
  4. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): Protects employees from retaliation for asserting their rights under wage and hour laws.
  5. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Prohibits retaliation against employees who take leave for certain family and medical reasons.

California State Protections

California offers additional protections through state-specific laws, including:

  1. Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA): Provides comprehensive protections against retaliation for employees who report discrimination, harassment, or other illegal practices.
  2. California Labor Code Section 1102.5: Protects employees who disclose information about violations of state or federal laws to a government or law enforcement agency, or who refuse to participate in activities that would result in a violation of law.
  3. California Whistleblower Protection Act: Offers protections for employees who report violations of state or federal laws, regulations, or policies.

Steps to Take if Retaliation Occurs

Experiencing retaliation after filing a wrongful termination claim can be daunting, but there are several steps employees can take to protect themselves:

  1. Document Everything: Meticulous documentation is key to building a strong case. Employees should keep detailed records of any incidents that may constitute retaliation, including emails, voicemails, and written notes of conversations. Documenting the date, time, location, and nature of each incident is crucial.
  2. Report Retaliation: Employees should promptly report any retaliatory actions to the appropriate authorities. This might include their attorney, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or state agencies like the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
  3. Consult a Wrongful Termination Lawyer: Seeking advice from a seasoned wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles is crucial. These legal professionals are well-versed in handling both wrongful termination and retaliation claims and can provide invaluable guidance on how to proceed.
  4. Maintain Professionalism: Even in the face of retaliation, it’s important for employees to maintain professionalism in all interactions. This not only helps to protect their reputation but also strengthens their case should it go to court.

The Role of a Wrongful Termination Lawyer

A wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles can assist employees in several critical ways:

  1. Evaluate Your Case: A lawyer can assess whether the actions you are experiencing constitute retaliation. They can help you understand the legal standards for proving retaliation and the evidence needed to support your claim.
  2. File a Retaliation Claim: If there is sufficient evidence, your lawyer can file a formal retaliation claim on your behalf. This process involves drafting legal documents, gathering evidence, and presenting your case to the appropriate authorities or in court.
  3. Negotiate Settlements: Skilled attorneys can often negotiate settlements that compensate for damages caused by the retaliation. This might include financial compensation for lost wages, emotional distress, and other related damages.
  4. Represent You in Court: If necessary, your lawyer will represent you in court to ensure your rights are upheld. They will present evidence, call witnesses, and make legal arguments to support your case.

Understanding the Retaliation Claim Process

The process of filing and pursuing a retaliation claim involves several steps:

  1. Initial Consultation: The first step is to consult with a wrongful termination lawyer. During this consultation, the lawyer will review your case, ask questions about your experiences, and provide an initial assessment of your situation.
  2. Evidence Gathering: Your lawyer will help you gather the necessary evidence to support your retaliation claim. This may include emails, text messages, witness statements, and any other relevant documentation.
  3. Filing the Complaint: Your lawyer will file a formal complaint with the appropriate agency. In California, this may involve filing a complaint with the DFEH or the EEOC, depending on the specifics of your case.
  4. Agency Investigation: The agency will investigate your complaint. This may involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing documents, and conducting other investigative activities.
  5. Resolution or Litigation: Depending on the outcome of the investigation, your case may be resolved through a settlement or may proceed to litigation. If your case goes to court, your lawyer will represent you throughout the trial process.

Preventive Measures

To mitigate the risk of retaliation, consider the following preventive measures:

  1. Maintain Professionalism: Even after filing a claim, strive to maintain professionalism in all interactions. This includes remaining calm, avoiding confrontational behavior, and communicating clearly and respectfully.
  2. Network: Strengthen professional networks to reduce reliance on a single reference or industry opinion. Building a strong network of colleagues and professional contacts can provide additional support and opportunities.
  3. Know Your Rights: Stay informed about your legal rights and the protections available to you. Understanding your rights can help you recognize and respond to retaliatory actions more effectively.


Handling retaliation after filing a wrongful termination claim can be challenging, but understanding your rights and taking proactive steps can make a significant difference. Documenting incidents, reporting them promptly, and seeking the assistance of an experienced wrongful termination attorney in Los Angeles are critical steps. By taking these actions, employees can safeguard their rights and pursue justice effectively.

For those dealing with such issues, JML Law, APLC offers expert legal assistance to navigate the complexities of wrongful termination and retaliation claims. Their experienced attorneys are dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and ensuring they receive fair treatment under the law. With the right legal support, employees can face retaliation with confidence and secure the justice they deserve.

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