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What Constitutes Adverse Employment Action in California?

Hardin Law Group

What is an Adverse Employment Action?

In the complex and ever-changing landscape of employment law, understanding what constitutes an “adverse employment action” is crucial for both employers and employees. As a leading Los Angeles employment law firm, the Hardin Law Group wants to clarify these often misunderstood aspects of employment law. This is particularly important in California, where the definition and implications of adverse employment actions are significant under both state and federal employment laws.

What is an Adverse Employment Action?

At its core, an adverse employment action refers to any action taken by an employer that negatively impacts an employee’s job or working conditions. This broad definition includes a range of actions from demotions and pay cuts to less obvious forms such as unfavorable job assignments or changes in job responsibilities.

In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) sets a high standard for protecting employees against adverse actions, especially when they are linked to discrimination or retaliation. California courts have adopted a broad interpretation of what constitutes an adverse employment action, ensuring extensive protection for employees.

Below are some of the most common examples of adverse employment actions under California law:

  • Termination or Firing: The most clear-cut example of an adverse action, where an employer fires an employee.
  • Demotion: A reduction in rank, responsibility, or job title, often accompanied by a decrease in salary.
  • Reduction in Pay or Hours: Any significant cut in an employee’s salary or scheduled working hours.
  • Negative Performance Evaluations: Unjustifiably poor performance reviews may be adverse if they affect promotions, raises, or continued employment.
  • Denial of Promotion or Advancement Opportunities: Failure to promote an employee can be an adverse employment action if the employer’s decision is based on discriminatory reasons.
  • Hostile Work Environment: Creating or allowing a work environment that is intimidating, hostile, or offensive.
  • Retaliatory Actions: Any negative action taken in response to an employee exercising their legal rights, like filing a discrimination complaint.

Proving Adverse Employment Action

To establish an adverse employment action in a Los Angeles employment lawsuit, you’ll typically need to demonstrate that the action had a material and detrimental effect on the terms, conditions, or privileges of your employment. It’s not just about showing that the action was unfavorable but that it significantly altered the employee’s job status or career prospects.

Key Take-Aways

Adverse employment actions go beyond just firings or demotions. They encompass a range of employer decisions that can negatively impact an employee’s job. In California, the broad interpretation under FEHA provides substantial protection to employees.

Speak with an Experienced Los Angeles Employment Lawyer About Your Situation

If you’ve been subjected to an adverse employment action, consulting with an experienced LA employment law attorney can provide you with the information you need to decide how to move forward. The Hardin Law Group offers thoughtful advice and representation, ensuring your rights and interests remain protected. To learn more, and to schedule a free case evaluation with Attorney Hardin today, call (310) 606-2122 or connect with us through our secure online contact form.

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